Syria Army storms new towns after UN briefing

Last Updated: Thursday, August 11, 2011 - 22:17

Damascus: Syrian forces killed five people
today as they stormed another two towns in pursuit of
anti-regime protesters, defying Western calls for action after
a "chilling" UN Security Council briefing.

The killings occurred soon after columns of tanks entered
the town of Qusayr in the central province of Homs early on
today, sending residents fleeing, a rights activist in the
town said, reached by telephone from Nicosia.

"Residents fled into the fields and all communications
have been cut with the town," the activist said, adding that
security forces had later killed at least five residents and
wounded 10.

"The security forces opened fire on residents who tried to
flee to the Al-Basateen district, killing at least five" said
the activist.

Tanks, troop carriers and buses transporting security
force members also sped soon after dawn today into the town of
Saraqeb in the northwestern Idlib province bordering Turkey,
the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

"Shooting was heard soon afterwards in the town, where
protests demanding the fall of the regime have been staged
every day after the evening (Muslim) prayers," the
Britain-based group said in a statement.

Later the rights advocacy group reported that security
forces were "raiding homes and carrying out arrests, rounding
up more than 100 people, including 35 children."

"Army troops are smashing the doors of shops owned by
activists in search of them, and they have cut off electricity
in the town," a statement said.

Yesterday security forces reportedly shot dead 18 people
in the Baba Amro neighbourhood of the city of Homs, according
to the latest toll provided by the Syrian Observatory.

The latest assault comes after UN Assistant
Secretary-General Oscar Fernandez-Taranco yesterday briefed
the 15-member Security Council about events in Syria in the
week since the council called for an "immediate" halt to the
violence.

Taranco, who spoke behind closed doors, was quoted as
saying there had been no letup in the deaths of protesters
while UN officials had met Syrian diplomats to try to get
accurate information.

Taranco`s briefing had been "depressing and chilling,"
Britain`s deputy UN ambassador Philip Parham later told
reporters.

Western envoys said the Security Council would have to
consider "further action" if events did not improve and
pressed for a new report next week.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, August 11, 2011 - 22:17

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