Syrian navy shells Latakia to crush protests, 4 killed

Military assault on port city continues for second straight day as Assad employs gunships and tanks to quell dissent.

Syria rallies 311 R (photo credit: REUTERS)
Syria rallies 311 R
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Syrian navy ships shelled two densely populated residential districts in the country's main Mediterranean port city Latakia on Sunday, residents and rights campaigners said, in the second day of a military assault to crush protests.
"I can see the silhouettes of two grey vessels. They are firing their guns and the impact is landing on al-Raml al-Filistini and al-Shaab neighborhoods," one witness told Reuters by phone from Latakia, where tanks and armored vehicles deployed three months ago to crush dissent against President Bashar Assad.
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Residents said at least four people were killed in the two districts from tank fire on Sunday morning, bringing the total killed since the beginning of the assault on Saturday to six. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said six civilians were killed on Sunday.
On Saturday, The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said two people were killed and 15 wounded in heavy gunfire after around 20 military vehicles entered the Ramle district of Latakia, on the Mediterranean coast.
Soldiers backed by loyalist militia known as shabbiha were also deployed in the city's Sulaiba district, the group's head Rami Abdel Rahman said. "They are arresting dozens of people," he said, adding many people were fleeing the assault.
Troops and shabbiha killed one person in the town of Qusair, near the Lebanese border, and made arrests in nearby Jousiyah village, he said. The bodies of four people arrested during an assault last week in the Houla Plain, north of Homs city, were returned to their families, he added.