Dozens killed’ in Syrian border town


Security forces killed at least 27 civilians in three-day attack on Tel Kelakh, a rights lawyer told Al Jazeera

Syria’s army and security forces killed at least 27 civilians in a three-day tank-backed attack on the border town of Tel Kelakh to subdue pro-democracy protesters, a rights lawyer told Al Jazeera.
“There are 27 confirmed names. An unknown number of bodies were taken to the main hospital in Tel Kelakh and not handed over to their families,” Razan Zaitouna said on Wednesday. Tel Kelakh is a few kilometres from Lebanon’s northern border with Syria.
On Tuesday, security agents violently dispersed university students protesting against Bashar al-Assad, the president, in the country’s second-largest city Aleppo, a human rights activist said.
The AP news agency quoted Mustafa Osso as saying that dozens were injured after the protesting students were attacked with batons on Tuesda
He said many of the students were chased into their dormitories and badly beaten. The university has seen several anti-regime demonstrations in the past weeks.
Rights activists say a crackdown to crush a two-month wave of protests against Assad has killed at least 700 civilians.

Syrian tanks also moved into a southern city on the Hauran Plain on Tuesday after encircling it for three weeks, activists said.

Soldiers fired machineguns as tanks and armoured personnel carriers entered Nawa, a city of 80,000 people 60km north of the town of Deraa, according to activists from the region.

“The governor (of the province) had announced that the troops have the names of 180 wanted men in Nawa, but the arrests are arbitrary,” one rights campaigner said.

Crackdown continues

In Deraa, tanks remained in the streets after the old quarter was shelled into submission last month and residents gave accounts of mass graves, which the authorities denied.

The southern towns of Inkhil and Jassem also remained besieged, rights campaigners said, adding that mass arrests continued in the Hauran Plain and other regions of Syria.

To the north, pro-democracy demonstrations erupted in the Damascus suburb of Douma, Syria’s second city Aleppo, and the town of Zabadani on the foothills of the Anti-Lebanon mountains, Hama and the region of Deir al-Zor near the Iraqi border.

Most were not large but significant given the severe security clampdown, rights campaigners said.

On Tuesday, Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, warned of more pressure on Syria if the crackdown against pro-democracy protests continues.

Clinton said that both the European Union and the United States – which have already slapped sanctions on a number of senior Syrian officials but not on president al-Assad – were planning more steps.

“We will be taking additional steps in the days ahead,” Clinton said, saying she agreed with Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief, who told reporters that the time for Syria to make changes was now.

Meanwhile, Syrian activists used Facebook to call for a general strike throughout Syria on Wednesday to protest against the security crackdown.

One of the protesters’ main Facebook pages, The Syrian Revolution 2011, had a picture of a child saying “father, your participation in the strike is a guarantee for my future”.

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