Syrian Town Braces for Possible Government Crackdown

Posted June 7th, 2011 at 10:25 am (UTC-5)
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Syrian residents in a town near the Turkish border are bracing for possible violence after the government pledged a forceful response to what it called a massacre of security forces.

Government officials said Monday that armed gangs had killed 120 law enforcement officers during clashes over the past few days in Jisr al-Shughour.

However, opposition activists have disputed the casualty count and say the government's accusations may serve as an excuse for a new military crackdown in the region. The killings could not be independently confirmed because foreign journalists are not allowed in Syria.

The region near the Turkish border has become a flash point in the anti-government uprising. Protesters have been calling for an end to President Bashar al-Assad's 11-year authoritarian rule.

Rights groups say at least 1,100 people have been killed in the government's crackdown against the anti-government campaign that began in March. More than 10,000 have been arrested.