Hundreds of Bodies Found Outside Damascus

Posted August 26th, 2012 at 6:55 am (UTC-5)
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A Syrian watchdog group says hundreds of people were killed across the country Saturday.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the final death toll for the day was 370.

Activists say nearly 200 bodies were found in Daraya, a town close to Damascus, the capital.

The number of corpses in Daraya and when they died could not be independently confirmed. However, video footage reported to be from Daraya showed a huge group of victims. Syrian forces have leveled a five-day onslaught on rebel fighters in the town.

The state-run SANA news agency says Daraya had been “purified of terrorist remnants.”

President Bashar al-Assad has blamed foreign-backed terrorists for much of the violence that has gripped his nation for nearly the past 18 months.

The attack on Daraya was part of an army campaign to regain control of the outskirts of the capital.

Activists say Syrian forces with tanks and combat helicopters also launched fresh raids in other cities.

On Saturday, SANA said armed forces killed an unspecified number of “terrorists” in Aleppo and destroyed seven vehicles equipped with machine guns.

Western powers have urged Mr. Assad to resign, but the Syrian leader continues to get support from Iran. On Saturday, an Iranian delegation visiting Syrian lawmakers in Damascus reaffirmed Tehran's support.

The Associated Press quotes Iran's ambassador to Syria as saying that calls for reforms in Syria have been “masked by plots carried out by enemies.”