Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE INTERVIEW

Seoul: 'Time running out to prevent a nuclear N. Korea'

Read more

THE DEBATE

City power: The growing clout of big urban areas

Read more

FOCUS

Was Chilean poet Pablo Neruda murdered?

Read more

ENCORE!

Music show: To 'Joon Moon' and back

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Japan's stocks on record winning streak after Abe's election victory

Read more

YOU ARE HERE

The pine cone line: A train ride through rural Provence

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

David McAllister: 'EU involvement in Catalonia could set a precedent'

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Glyphosate: Should the EU re-authorise the weedkiller chemical?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A piece of history: Five former US presidents gather for hurricanes fundraiser

Read more

Middle east

Syria launches new crackdown in north-west

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-09-14

Syrian forces have launched a new crackdown against dissidents in the country's north-west, activists say, as protesters prepare to mark six months since the start of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

AFP - Syria launched a massive military operation Wednesday against anti-regime protesters in the northwest, activists said, as Russia warned "terrorists" could rise to power should the government collapse.

Undaunted by a deadly crackdown on demonstrations against President Bashar al-Assad, protesters have vowed to hit the streets en masse Thursday to mark six months since the revolt broke out with pro-reform rallies.

"Six months. More than ever determined to (continue) the March 15 uprising," activists wrote on Facebook page The Syrian Revolution 2011, one of the main engines of the popular uprising.

Global and regional pressure has intensified on Syria in recent days, with the European Union planning to strengthen sanctions against Damascus, a move that could prohibit investments in its oil sector.

Russia meanwhile warned on Wednesday that "terrorist organisations" could rise to power in Syria should Assad's regime fall under pressure from the ongoing street protests.

"If the Syrian government is unable to hold on to power, there is a high probability that radicals and representatives of terrorist organisations will become entrenched," Interfax news agency quoted a top foreign ministry official as saying.

The warning came as Syrian security forces stormed villages and large swathes of the northwestern countryside, where anti-regime activists were suspected to be hiding, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Armed with heavy machine guns, the forces cut off roads leading to Jabal al-Zawiya, Baliun, Marayan, Ihsem, Al-Rami and Ablin, setting up checkpoints and arresting several people, said the Britain-based Observatory.

Ablin is the hometown of Lieutenant Colonel Hussein Harmush, the first military officer to publicly declare his desertion in early June in protest against the repression of the protest movement.

He managed to leave Syria and is currently leading the "Brigade of Free Officers", a group of dozens of officers who have deserted the regime.

Several other Syrian cities witnessed arrests Wednesday, with 15 people taken into custody in Zabadani, a day after at least 34 others were detained, activists told AFP.

They said Syrian forces were also dispatched early Wednesday to the town of Zabadani, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) west of Damascus, a scene of massive anti-regime demonstrations on Tuesday.

In the central region of Homs, the body of a young man arrested on Saturday was handed over to his parents on Wednesday, the Observatory said.

And in the Bab al-Sebaa neighbourhood of Homs, security forces shot dead one resident in a raid on a house, it added.

State news agency SANA reported a bus driver was ambushed in the central city of Hama by an "armed terrorist group," while five soldiers and a guard who were shot dead by "armed terrorist groups" were buried in Aleppo and Homs.

Armed forces also entered Houla where a pro-regime militiaman was murdered at dawn by three unidentified men.

Damascus has consistently maintained the protests are the work of "armed gangs," rejecting reports by Western embassies and human rights groups that the great majority of those killed were unarmed civilians.

The United Nations estimates the Syrian government crackdown on protests killed 2,600, mostly civilians, since March.

State television has announced national dialogue sessions will be held as of Sunday in all provinces "to develop a programme aimed at preserving national sovereignty and respect for the freedom of citizens and the rule of law."

 

Date created : 2011-09-14

  • SYRIA

    UN panel to probe Syrian rights abuses

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Arab League and Syria say they agree to reforms to curb violence

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    France denounces Syrian 'crimes against humanity'

    Read more

COMMENT(S)