Monday, April 25, 2011

Turning point in Syrian uprising: 5000 soldiers moving in for the kill

The Syrian government launched a major military operation Monday, sending thousands of troops into the town where the country's uprising began to carry out what witnesses described as a brutal, wider-scale crackdown.

Between 4,000 and 5,000 members of the Army and security forces raided the southern city of Daraa just after 4 a.m., equipped with seven tanks, and began shooting indiscriminately, shooting into homes as people slept, according to an activist with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Seven people were confirmed killed in the city, the activist said.

Other witnesses described a trail of dead bodies in the streets.

"Ambulances could not help the injured because of the snipers and army officers who are deployed all over the city," one witness in Daraa said. "They shoot on anything that moves."

The Syrian government, meanwhile, said 12 "martyrs" killed "by armed criminal groups" around the country -- including several near Daraa -- were buried. The government has been arguing that its security forces are cracking down on such groups wreaking havoc on the nation.

Fear and panic coursed through the city. (read more)