Saturday, April 7, 2012

Assad push on Syrian rebels sets off exodus of refugees

Thousands flee to neighbouring Lebanon as regime cracks down ahead of ceasefire

The Independent
Saturday 07 April 2012

"President Bashar al-Assad's army yesterday appeared to widen its merciless campaign to crush dissent ahead of a ceasefire deadline, bolstering the flow of refugees into neighbouring countries that are struggling to deal with the influx of new arrivals.

Columns of smoke rose above the Damascus suburbs of Douma and Saqba yesterday where tank shells and snipers were said to be targeting anything that moved, while intense clashes between the Free Syrian Army fighters and the regime's army took place in nearby Harasta.

Similar brutality was reported elsewhere in the country as the security forces tried to disperse thousands who defiantly took to the streets after Friday prayers.

Amid the crackdown, the United Nations yesterday sharply increased its figures for the number of Syrian refugees who have fled to neighbouring Lebanon, revising the total estimate to over 20,000 – an increase of 5,000 on a week ago......"

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