'Iran, Hezbollah assisting in Syria protest suppression'

Protesters report hearing security forces speaking Farsi; Syrian official says 12 killed in Latakia over course of two days.

By JPOST.COM STAFF, REUTERS
March 27, 2011 08:38
2 minute read.
Syrians shout slogans in support of protesters

Syrians shout slogans in protests 311. (photo credit: REUTERS/Stringer )

 
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Israel has raised concerns that Iran and Hezbollah are participating in the suppression of demonstrations in Syria, reported Army Radio on Sunday.

The report states that according to a Foreign Ministry official in Jerusalem, local protesters have said that some of the security guards that are dispersing the protests have been speaking in Farsi, and this fact proves the close ties between Damascus and Tehran.

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Israel estimated that in the coming days it will be possible to see Iranian involvement in dispersing the protests in Syria.

"Syria is an Iranian acquisition, and it is clear that Iran is afraid that its investments will go down the drain.  So it has allowed for greater involvement than in other Arab countries," Army Radio reported Foreign Ministry officials as saying.

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turmoil in the Middle East

A Syrian official source said on Sunday 12 people were killed in clashes in the port city of Latakia over the last two days.

"An official source said attacks by armed elements on the families and districts of Latakia over the last two days resulted in the martyrdom of 10 security forces and civilians and the killing of two of the armed elements," the official Syrian news agency SANA said.



The source added that 200 people, most of whom were from the security forces, were wounded in the clashes.

Rights activists told Reuters on Saturday at least six people had been killed in Latakia over two days.


The exact death toll since the riots erupted nine days ago is unknown, however according to some estimates it has reached 100, the report stated.

The focus of the violence is concentrated in the southern city of Deraa near the Jordanian border, where 20 civilians were killed in weekend protests.  The demonstrations also spread to the port city of Latakia and to Damascus.



On Saturday, thousands of mourners at a funeral for a Syrian killed in anti-government protests burned a ruling Baath party building and a police station as authorities freed 260 prisoners in a bid to placate reformists.

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