Six killed in Syria raids on dissidents


Syrian security forces killed six people and wounded dozens on Monday in raids in the northwest and around the capital, as tanks rumbled into a village bordering Lebanon further south, rights groups said. A child was among five people killed when troops and security forces opened fire during search operations in the Sarmin district of the northwest province of Idlib, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
One person died when part of his home was leveled as Syrian forces raked houses in Sarmin with heavy machine-gun fire, the head of the Britain-based Observatory, Rami Abdel Rahman, said. At least 60 people were also wounded in Sarmin and six houses were partly destroyed, he told AFP by telephone. A sixth person was killed when security forces raided his home at dawn in the town of Qara outside Damascus during an arrest operation, the Local Coordination Committees reported.
Around 10 trucks and armoured vehicles entered Qara, said the group which organises anti-regime protests and has militants on the ground across Syria. It said some 40 people whose names were on a “wanted list” were detained.
Meanwhile, troops backed by tanks and personnel carriers early on Monday stormed the village of Hit, two kilometres (1.2 miles) from the border with Lebanon, south of the central city of Homs, Abdel Rahman said.
“There has been high intensity gunfire since 9:00 am (0600 GMT),” he told AFP, adding that at least five people were wounded and 13 were arrested.
“The homes of activists wanted by the authorities were torched,” he added.
Activists also reported six people killed by security forces on Sunday.
Earlier this month, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told him in a telephone conversation that he had halted military operations against protesters.
But the UN chief a week ago said Assad had failed to keep his promise.
Early on Sunday, the Arab League announced plans in a statement to send its chief Nabil al-Arabi to Damascus with a peace initiative to help solve the crisis, urging Syria to “follow the way of reason before it is too late.”