At least 48 killed in Syria violence: Monitors

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - 10:30

Beirut: At least 48 persons were reported
killed in violence across Syria, including 25 members of the security forces, as a pro-government daily said the regime had
captured the rebel city of Idlib.

"Twelve members of the security services who headed for
the town of Dael to carry out arrests were killed ... when
their vehicle was ambushed by a group of armed deserters,"
said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights yesterday.

The attack in the southern region of Daraa was the second
deadly ambush the same day on the military, which has led a
year-long crackdown on dissent that activists say has cost
more than 8,500 lives.

As the regime battles to mop up resistance, Syria`s
Al-Watan newspaper said government forces had recaptured the
rebel stronghold of Idlib city in the northwest, following
what activists said were three days of heavy shelling.

"A major operation launched three days ago in Idlib ...
ended in record time with army units wrapping up search
operations during which dozens of armed men and fugitives were
killed," the daily said.

Activists acknowledged the army had deployed in the city
but said they faced pockets of resistance by rebel fighters.

"The army has taken up positions at main intersections
but one cannot say that it controls the whole city as it has
avoided deploying in some neighbourhoods," said Milad Fadl, a
militant reached by AFP in Beirut.

The Observatory said the army had shelled several
districts of Idlib, leaving an unknown number of casualties
and with clashes taking place in pockets of resistance.
There were fears that Idlib could meet the same fate as
the Baba Amr rebel neighbourhood in the central city of Homs
that suffered a month-long blitz by government forces before
its capture on March 1.

The Observatory said that elsewhere in Idlib province,
located near the Turkish border, at least 10 Syrian soldiers
were killed in a pre-dawn rebel attack on an army checkpoint
in the town of Maaret al-Numan.
Seven civilians, including a 14-year-old youth, were
killed in Maaret al-Numan, the Britain-based group said,
adding that army troops gunned down six of them in a car
transporting wounded people.

The group, whose reports could not be verified due to
government curbs on foreign media, also said eight civilians
were killed in and around the city of Homs, including a woman
in Tal Kalakh, near the Lebanese border.


First Published: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - 10:30

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