More deaths, no water, power in Syrian protest town

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Water and power have been cut in Daraa, epicentre of pro-democracy protests, with at least 42 people killed since Syrian troops stormed in three days ago, a rights activist said Thursday. “The situation is worsening. We have neither doctors nor medical supplies, not even baby milk. The electricity is always cut and we haven’t any more water,” Abdallah Abazid told AFP in Nicosia by telephone from Daraa, 100 kilometres (62 miles) south of Damascus.
The Syrian army, supported by tanks and armoured vehicles, stormed into Daraa to quell the unprecedented challenge that since March 15 has shaken the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. At least 42 “martyrs” have been killed since Monday, Abazid said. Their families, he added, had been unable to bury them because “security forces were firing on anybody visiting the cemetery,” which is controlled by the army. Sporadic gunfire had been heard in the town, while an aircraft flew overhead, Abazid said.
“I think it was a surveillance plane,” he added. He also said there had been defections from the army. Some soldiers “of the 5th company joined the residents to defend against the security services,” he said, although it was not possible to verify this information.