Sunday, July 17, 2011

Troops crackdown on Syria protests

By Bassem Mroue
The Independent

"Syrian troops backed by tanks stormed a town near the border with Lebanon as security forces rounded up more than 500 people, including a leading opposition figure, across the country over the past two days, activists said.

Syria-based rights activist Mustafa Osso said government forces entered the town of Zabadani, some 25 miles (40 kilometers) northwest of Damascus, early Sunday after surrounding it a day earlier. Zabadani has witnessed a string of protests calling for the downfall of President Bashar Assad's regime since the uprising began against the Assad family's more than 40-year rule in mid-March.

The Local Coordinating Committees, which help organize and track the protests, said some 2,000 members of the military and security agencies stormed Zabadani after cutting the town's telephone services, Internet connections and electricity.

Activists say the government crackdown has killed some 1,600 people since March, most of them unarmed protesters...."

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