AMMAN - Syrian President Bashar Assad poured troops into a suburb of Damascus overnight Tuesday while his tanks pounded Deraa to crush resistance in the southern city where the revolt against his autocratic rule began on March 18.
White buses brought in hundreds of soldiers in full combat gear into the northern Damascus suburb of Douma, a witness told Reuters on Wednesday, from where pro-democracy protesters have tried to march into center of the capital in the last two weeks but were met with bullets.
More than 2,000 security police deployed in Douma on Tuesday, manning checkpoints and checking identity cards to arrest pro-democracy sympathisers, said the witness, a former soldier who did not want to be identified.
He said he saw several trucks in the streets equipped with heavy machineguns and members of the plainclothes secret police carrying assault rifles. He believed the soldiers to be Republican Guards, among the units most loyal to Assad.