Tanks enter Syrian town in south, residents say

By REUTERS
May 8, 2011 12:49

Eight tanks move into town of Tafas with population of 30,000; residents say gunfire heard as security forces break into homes, arrests youths.

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Protestors in Syria

Protestors in Syria 311. (photo credit: Reuters)

AMMAN - Syrian forces have entered the southern town of Tafas near the city of Deraa in the Hauran Plain, residents said.

At least eight tanks moved into the town of about 30,000 people around 6 a.m. (0300 GMT) on Sunday.

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Residents said they heard gunfire and that army and security forces broke into houses to arrest youths.

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Thousands of villagers from Hauran converged on Tafas on Friday and chanted slogans demanding the overthrow of President Bashar Assad.

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turmoil in the Middle East

Villagers, prevented from entering the nearby city of Deraa, the cradle of the uprising and which remains encircled by tanks, flocked to Tafas, 12 km (8 miles), to the northwest.

International criticism has mounted against Assad, who has gone on the offensive to maintain his family's four-decade grip on power and crush demonstrators demanding freedom. Rights campaigners say the crackdown has killed more than 580 people.


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