Syria Banias Protest 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
AMMAN - At least five people were killed in a military operation in Syria's third city Homs on Wednesday, human rights campaigner Najati Tayara said.
Speaking from Homs, Tayara said the National Hospital in the city received at least five bodies after tanks shelled the Bab al-Amro district early in the morning. The official Syrian news agency said one soldier was killed "during the pursuit of armed terrorist gangs" in Bab Amro.
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On Tuesday, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad's forces killed three anti-government protesters in southern Syria on Tuesday night, activists told AP.
initially responded to the unrest, the most serious challenge to his
11-year grip on power, with promises of reform. He granted citizenship
to stateless Kurds and last month lifted a 48-year state of emergency.
he also sent the army to crush dissent, in Deraa where demonstrations
first erupted on March 18 and then to other cities, making clear he
would not risk losing the tight control his family has held over Syria
for the past 41 years.
Security forces have released 300 people
detained in Banias and restored basic services in the coastal city
stormed by tanks last week, a human rights group said.
telecommunications and electricity had been restored, but tanks remained
in major streets, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on
Tuesday. Two hundred people, including pro-democracy protest leaders
were still in jail, it said.
"Scores of those released were
severely beaten and subjected to insults. A tank deployed in the square
where demonstrations were being held," Observatory director Rami
Human rights campaigners said at least six
civilians, including four women, where killed in raids on Sunni
neighborhoods and in an attack on an all-women demonstration just
outside Banias on Saturday.
Demonstrators in Banias had raised posters of Turkish Prime Minister
Tayyip Erdogan, who has had close ties to Assad, but disputed the
official Syrian account of the violence.
Erdogan said more than 1,000 civilians had died and he did not want to
see a repeat of the 1982 Hama violence or the 1988 gassing of Iraqi
Kurds in Halabja, when 5,000 people died.
Officials have blamed most of the violence on "armed terrorist groups",
backed by Islamists and foreign agitators, and say about 100 soldiers
and police have been killed.
In southern Syria, four civilians in the southern town of Tafas were
killed as security forces widened a campaign of arrests, a human rights
campaigner in the region said, adding 300 people had been detained since
tanks entered Tafas on Saturday.