Syrian Tank 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
BEIRUT and BRUSSELS - At least 69 people were killed in southern Syria on Monday, most of
them in clashes between army deserters and troops loyal to Syrian
President Bashar Assad, activists said on Tuesday.The
EU said the military and intelligence officials, who are subject to
asset freezes and a ban on travel to the 27-member bloc from Tuesday,
are among those responsible for the violent crackdown.
came as Syria faces growing international isolation following the Arab
League's decision to suspend its membership in response to Assad's
crackdown on eight months of protests calling for his overthrow.
White House: Pressure building on Syria's Assad
Syria urges Arab League to reconsider suspension
Also Tuesday, the
European Union added 18 people to its list of sanctions that
aim to put pressure on the Syrian government, including senior military
and intelligence chiefs, a deputy minister and a lawyer.
of people have been killed so far this month, making it one of the
bloodiest periods of the Syrian protests, inspired by uprisings which
have overthrown leaders in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.
Organization for Human Rights said 34 soldiers and members of Syrian
security forces were killed in clashes with suspected army deserters who
attacked military vehicles in the southern province on Monday.
Video footage broadcast by Al Jazeera television showed what appeared to
be a tank engulfed in flames, alongside other burning vehicles.
At least 12 of the attackers were also killed, the British-based
Observatory said, while another 23 people were killed in "gunfire from
security and military checkpoints" in southern villages.
Syria has barred most foreign media from the country, making it
difficult to verify conflicting accounts from authorities and activists.
Syria's state news agency SANA made no mention of clashes in the south
The United Nations says 3,500 people have been killed in Assad's
crackdown on the protests and human rights groups say security forces
have carried out killings and torture which constitute crimes against
Authorities blame armed groups for the violence, saying at least 1,100
soldiers and police have been killed since the uprising broke out in
Alongside street protests, which rights groups say have been mainly
peaceful, an increasingly forceful armed insurgency has targeted Assad's
military and security forces.
Monday's violence took place in the southern province of Deraa which
borders neighboring Jordan and was the region where major protests
first erupted against Assad in March.