Assad loyalists kill two while celebrating

August 22, 2011 14:11


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BEIRUT - Supporters of President Bashar Assad shot dead two people in Syria on Monday, activists said, hours after he dismissed Western calls to step down and warned that any military action against his country would backfire.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said loyalist gunmen known as 'shabbiha' who were celebrating after Assad's comments on Syrian television opened fire in Masyaf, west of the city of the central city of Hama, killing two people and wounding four. They also attacked shops belonging to Assad opponents, it said.

Assad faces growing Western calls to step down over his crackdown on more than five months of pro-democracy protests in which the United Nations says around 2,000 civilians have died.

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