Tanks enter Deir al-Zor in east Syria, residents say

Witness says three killed in attack that follows tank assault on Hama; machingun fire and explosions are heard throughout eastern town.

August 7, 2011 12:30
1 minute read.
Syrian tank moves through city (illustrative)

Syrian tank in Hama 311. (photo credit: Reuters)

Syrian tanks moved into parts of the restive eastern city of Deir al-Zor on Sunday amid the noise of heavy machinegun fire and explosions, residents and activists said.

"Armored vehicles and tanks have entered several neighborhoods on the outskirts. They are firing heavy machineguns and explosions have been heard in al-Joura district," one city resident told Reuters by telephone.

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He said he had heard that three people had been killed in the assault and that the army was making arrests. Syria has barred most independent media since the start of an uprising against President Bashar Assad, making it hard to verify accounts from residents, activists and authorities.

Last Sunday Assad sent tanks to storm the city of Hama, a center of protests against his 11-year rule, and residents of Deir al-Zor had been bracing for an assault on their own city.

A video posted on the Internet last week showed a tribal meeting discussing preparations for armed resistance to any military move against Deir al-Zor.

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