Assad's forces overrun Damascus suburb, kill 20

AMMAN Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:17am EDT

1 of 2. A Member of the Free Syrian Army fires during clashes with Syrian Army soldiers in Aleppo's Saif al-Dawla district, August 20, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Zain Karam

AMMAN (Reuters) - Syrian soldiers backed by tanks entered the Damascus suburb of Mouadamiya on Tuesday, killing at least 20 young men and burning shops and houses before gradually withdrawing from the town, residents and opposition activists said.

The bodies of the men, mostly shot at point blank range, were found in basements and in shops and houses looted by military personnel, they said, bringing the death toll from the army's offensive on the Sunni Muslim suburb southwest of Damascus, which began on Monday, to 50 people.

With restrictions by Syrian authorities on non-state media, it was impossible to independently verify the reports by the activists and residents.

(Reporting by Khaled Yacoub Oweis, Amman newsroom; Editing by Jon Hemming)