Clashes erupt near Syrian capital

BEIRUT Thu Apr 5, 2012 5:43am EDT

Demonstrators protest against Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad in Kafranbel, near Idlib April 3, 2012. REUTERS/Raad Al Fares/Shaam News Network/Handout

Demonstrators protest against Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad in Kafranbel, near Idlib April 3, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Raad Al Fares/Shaam News Network/Handout

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BEIRUT (Reuters) - Fierce fighting erupted between state forces and rebels in several parts of Syria on Thursday, activists said, including a town close to the capital Damascus, where an advance U.N. peacekeeping team was expected to arrive.

Explosions and heavy machinegun fire rocked Douma, just 12 kilometers (8 miles) from the seat of government, activists from the Revolutionary Council of the Damascus Countryside said.

They said columns of smoke were spiraling from several buildings.

Syria has been struggling to suppress a year-long revolt against President Bashar al-Assad's rule that has turned from a peaceful uprising to, at least partly, an armed insurgency.

The flare-up in violence comes ahead of the arrival of a United Nations advance team to Damascus, that will be trying to broker a deal to deploy observers to monitor a ceasefire plan agreed by the government.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said army reinforcements were being sent into Douma as fighting continued amid unconfirmed reports of civilian casualties.

In northern Aleppo province, close to the Turkish border, the Observatory said security forces were trying to storm two villages and had been fighting rebels for more than two hours.

"The loudspeakers at local mosques called for members of the regime army to defect and come into the towns," the group said, citing information from its network of activists inside Syria.

Four soldiers were killed and several civilians were reported wounded, it said.

In neighboring Idlib province, a rebel was shot dead by snipers and three civilians were injured by random gunfire in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, it added.

(Reporting by Erika Solomon)

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Comments (3)
Austell wrote:
That’s the thing about terrorists, they aren’t so good at following peace plans…

Have you ever wondered WHY the Syrian army would even need to ‘storm’ their own towns??

Who is in contol of the towns?? Why would they need weapons??

The truth, that most of the west refuses to report, is that these towns have been literally taken over by Islamic militants and terrorists… by armed aggression.

The residents have been forced to flee while these militants take over their homes and their mosques and use the remaining civillians as human shields…

In what country in the world would that be tolerated??!

Apr 05, 2012 4:22am EDT  --  Report as abuse
philipsmeeton wrote:
Al-Qaeda is behind the Syrian uprising.They have become increasingly a rallying point for radical Islam. Muslim youth flock to its banner. Al- Qaeda is behind or has inspired almost every murderous terrorist attack in recent years. In Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, Syria and other Muslim countries people are murdered on a daily basis in the name of Islam. Al-Qaeda constantly attempts to spread this terror to Russia, the USA, Great Britain and other European countries. They very much want, and feel justified in so doing, to kill anyone that is unwilling to submit to Islam.
They are succeeding in their intention to subdue every other form of belief and to establish their global caliphate; something all Muslims are obliged by Mohammed to work towards; and to impose strict Sharia Law on us all. The future we face is bleak, cruel and violent and it is all eminating from the teachings of one man, Mohammed, with his creed of hate and murder.
The remedy is not to take up the battle within Muslim countries, they are already lost; but here at home, in our cities that have become a safe haven for and a breeding ground for Islamic terror. The remedy is simple: deport Muslims back to Muslim countries. They have forfeited any rights they might have had by their behaviour here. They have openly declared their intention to take over and they will succeed in this through immigration and a higher birth rate. We are becoming an easily defeated minority. Young people are indoctrinated and recruited to die for Islam whilst murdering us. Our society is ever more infiltrated and demoralised as part of this campaign of fear. The tactics are simple; lie, cheat, steal, threaten, mutilate and murder; terrorize us into submission.

Apr 05, 2012 4:50am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Obeebock wrote:
Austell, what can you tell about soldiers killing protesters, police torturing even children? Is it ok?
Do Syrians have the right to choose their own leaders or not? If yes, how can they do it peacefully, when every protest is crushed by soldiers?
If you care about Syrians, think about it.

Apr 05, 2012 5:31am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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