33 killed as Syrian forces pound rebel town
Damascus, January 29, 2012
Syrian government forces have killed at least 33 people in a rebel town near the Lebanese border in the last few days in an attack to dislodge army defectors and insurgents, activists and residents of a nearby town said Sunday.
Rankous, a mountain town of 25,000 people, 30 km north of Damascus, has been under tank bombardment since Wednesday, when it was besieged by several thousand troops led by the elite Fourth Division, under the command of President Bashar al-Assad's brother Maher, they said.
A resident of the nearby town of Sednaya, who did not want to be identified, said the 33 were killed since Wednesday and that no casualty figures were yet available for Sunday.
'We have managed to get through to people there who say the bombardment has brought down at least 10 buildings,' he said, adding that tens of soldiers have defected and went in to help defend the town.
'A tented army camp has been set up near the entrance of Rankous. Most of the town's residents have fled to nearby villages,' he added.
There was no immediate comment from the Syrian authorities.
It was the second major attack on Rankous since November when it was stormed by troops after a demonstration demanding Assad's removal was broadcast on the Arab news channel al-Jazeera, activists said.-Reuters
More INTERNATIONAL NEWS Stories
- China deploys 10 satellites to search for Malaysia jet
- Libya says halts tanker outside port; rebels deny it
- Libya orders military force to 'liberate' ports
- Big bananas: Chiquita, Fyffes merge
- Radar sweeps, dozens of aircraft, but no sign of plane
- N Korea tanker loads oil at Libya rebel port
- Gold drops as US growth optimism weighs
- Merkel raps Putin; Russia tightens grip on Crimea
- World 'at sea' over missing Malaysian jetliner
- Passports requiring probe were on Malaysia flight
- 40 killed in Yemen as Houthi fighters near capital
- Vietnam finds object in sea; search on
- $5bn poll spend to boost India economy
- Libya authorises use of force against Korean tanker
- Ukraine PM says he will go to US to discuss crisis
- Syrian journalist killed covering fighting
- Malaysian jet may have turned back before vanishing
- No sign of missing plane; Malaysia probes false passports
- Two Europeans not on board 'missing' Malaysian jet
- China draws red line on North Korea
- Saudi sentences three to death for 2003 bombing
- First bitcoin machine opens in UK
- US sanctions will boomerang, warns Russia
- China plans $50bn bank to fund projects
- Sony to sell Tokyo 'birthplace'
- Obama orders sanctions over Russian moves
- Crimea parliament votes to join Russia
- Arab League to be revamped
- 'Upskirting' is legal: Massachusetts court
- Singapore probes 'unnatural' death of bitcoin trader