Violence sweeped across Syria killing 25 people on Saturday, including seven soldiers and policemen, as well as five defectors and three civilians. Most of them were killed in a battle between troops and a growing force of army defectors, who have joined the movement to oust Bashar Assad, the autocratic ruler, activists said. The revolt against Assad's rule began with peaceful protests in mid-March, triggering a brutal crackdown. Arab officials were to meet on Saturday in Qatar to review punitive steps by the Arab League, including a travel ban on 17 Syrian officials, among them cabinet ministers and security officials. The UN's top human rights official this week said that Syria is in a state of civil war and that more than 4,000 people have been killed since March.