Syrian army raids another city as outrage mounts | Pakistan Today

Syrian army raids another city as outrage mounts

Syrian troops launched a vast operation on Wednesday in Idlib province bordering Turkey and killed at least one person, activists said, amid growing outrage over the regime’s crackdown on dissent. A defiant President Bashar al-Assad pledged to pursue a relentless battle against “terrorist groups,” seemingly oblivious to the mounting international pressure to stop the use of deadly force against pro-democracy protesters.
Troops stormed the city of Sermin in Idlib, with an initial toll of one dead, Rami Abdel Rahman of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. “A woman was killed and three other people were wounded in the city of Sermin, where Syrian forces launched a broad military campaign on Wednesday morning,” he told AFP.
Abdel Rahman said earlier that security forces were using heavy machine guns in Sermin, leaving “10 wounded, four of them in critical condition.”
Explosions and heavy gunfire also echoed in the eastern oil hub of Deir Ezzor, Abdel Rahman said, adding that residents fear a new military operation in the city where the army killed 42 people on Sunday and 17 on Tuesday.
The authorities have blamed “outlaws,” “saboteurs” and “armed terrorist groups” for the violence that has swept Syria since mid-March, while world powers have accused Syria of violently repressing pro-democracy protesters.
On Tuesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu delivered a message saying Ankara has “run out of patience,” while his Egyptian counterpart Mohammed Amr warned that Syria was “heading to the point of no return.”
Amr was due in Turkey on Wednesday after Davutoglu’s visit on Tuesday, when he asked Assad to end the bloodshed and implement democratic reforms.
Brazil, India and South Africa have all stepped into the diplomatic fray, dispatching envoys to Damascus to seek a solution to the crisis and end the bloody crackdown that has claimed more than 2,000 lives since mid-March. Briefing them, Foreign Minister Walid Muallem echoed Assad, saying security forces are confronting “terrorist groups.”
“Certain Syrian cities are under the grip of armed terrorist groups … (and) troops have been deployed to such cities to restore stability and security,” he said.
“Syria is facing foreign interference and wide-spread media provocation seeking to pressure its independent political decisions which stand in the way of foreign agendas,” he said. As troops were reportedly deploying in Sermin, dozens of military vehicles packed with soldiers streamed out of the flashpoint protest hub Hama in central Syria after completing a 10-day operation.

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