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Refugees riot in Syrian town, one youth killed

Damascus, November 20, 2007

One youth was killed when riots broke at a town near the Syrian capital after a dispute between local residents and refugees from the Israeli- occupied Golan Heights, witnesses said.

They said 15 people were injured when the refugees burned shops, homes and cars in Artouz, 25-km west of Damascus. Rioters carrying AK-47 rifles were seen roaming the streets before security forces arrived, they said.

"The army arrived too late. My sister was hit by bullets and I don't know whether she will make it," said one resident by telephone from the local hospital.

Security forces deployed heavily in Artouz by the evening, especially in streets separating refugee neighbourhoods from the rest of the town, witnesses said.

Residents say the two communities have been involved in a domestic feud for some time, but gave no further details.

Thousands of Syrians fled the Golan and moved to Artouz and nearby areas when Israel captured the plateau in the 1967 Middle East war. Israel annexed the territory in 1981, but the UN Security Council had since declared the move null. Reuters




Tags: Golan heights |

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