AMMAN - Security forces have arrested some 500 pro-democracy sympathisers across Syria after the government sent in tanks to try to crush protests in the city of Deraa, the Syrian rights organisation Sawasiah said on Tuesday.
The independent organisation said it had received reports that at least 20 people had been killed in Deraa since tanks moved in on Monday, but communications with the southern town where the protests against President Bashar al-Assad began on March 18 had been cut making it hard to confirm the information.
"Witnesses managed to tell us that at least 20 civilians have been killed in Deraa, but we do not have their names and we cannot verify," said a Sawasiah official, adding that two civilians were confirmed dead in the Damascus suburb of Douma, which forces entered earlier in the day.
At least 500 were arrested elsewhere in Syria, it said.
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