BEIRUT - Syrian forces fought hundreds of gunmen in a northwestern town and 80 security force members were killed, state television said on Monday, in the first report of a major clash in the uprising against President Bashar Assad.
The television said armed groups set government buildings ablaze in the town of Jisr al-Shughour, stole five tonnes of dynamite and were firing at civilians and security using machineguns and rocket-propelled grenades.
"The security forces have managed to end a blockade over one of the neighborhoods (in Jisr al-Shughour) that was seized by the gunmen for a while and are now battling them to end the blockade on the other neighborhoods," it said.
"The gunmen mutilated some of the bodies and threw some into the river. The people in Jisr al-Shughour are urging the army to intervene speedily," it said.