Armored Syrian forces raid region near Iraq border

August 24, 2011 16:44


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AMMAN - Armored Syrian forces killed one person and arrested dozens in raids on a tribal region near the border with Iraq on Wednesday, activists said, in their latest effort to subdue dissent against President Bashar Assad.

A force of 20-30 tanks and other armored vehicles entered neighborhoods in the town of Mayadeen and the nearby village of Alburhama in the eastern province of Deir al-Zor, before withdrawing to the outskirts, they said.

"They are mainly hit-and-run raids. The military is trying to avoid reprisals from the population, which is heavily armed. So they go in quickly to arrest people, sabotaging houses of wanted activists they cannot find," a local activist told Reuters by telephone.

The authorities have in the past allowed eastern Arab tribes to arm themselves, as a counterweight to Syria's nearby Kurdish minority and partly to bolster support for Assad and his father, the late president Bashar Assad, who are from Syria's minority Alawite sect.

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