Two Dozen Killed in Syrian Clashes

Posted June 10th, 2011 at 2:05 pm (UTC-5)
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At least 22 people have been killed in Syria, following confrontations between security forces and anti-government demonstrators .

Activists say at least 10 of the deaths on Friday occurred in the northwestern province of Idlib. State-run news reports say an armed group in the provincial city of Maaret al-Numan attacked security forces and set several government buildings on fire.

The news report said gunmen were trying to “repeat the scenario” of Jisr al-Shughour. On Monday, the government said “armed gangs” in the northern region near the Turkish border had killed 120 security personnel.

Military forces have moved into Jisr al-Shughour. Most of the town's residents reportedly fled after the government promised a military response to the attack.

Meanwhile, witnesses and activists say security forces shot and killed anti-government protesters in several cities on Friday. They say the forces used live ammunition on demonstrators in Damascus and in the southern flashpoint Daraa region.

Turkish news reports said Friday the number of Syrians who have fled across the border region into Turkey has swelled to about 3,000.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the Syrian government for its crackdown on protests. The semi-official Anatolia news agency quotes him as calling the crackdown an “atrocity” and saying the Syrian government has not behaved “humanely.” He added that Turkey is making plans for a refugee buffer zone on the border.

Diplomatic efforts to quiet Syria's unrest are unfolding on several fronts. Russian special envoy Mikhail Margelov said Friday that he planned to meet soon with representatives of Syria's opposition.

Also, diplomats at the United Nations are circulating a draft resolution that calls for the Security Council to condemn the Syrian government's crackdown. Earlier, Russia said it opposes the measure because Syria's unrest does not pose a threat to world peace or security.

Rights groups say at least 1,100 people have been killed in the Syrian crackdown that began in March and more than 10,000 people arrested.