Sunday, January 29, 2012
Syrian army kills 33 in border town
The New York Times took this picture from an officer of the Free Syrian Army talking to reporters in a house in Rankous on Saturday.
Syrian government forces have killed at least 33 people in Rankous, a mountain town of 25,000 people, 30 kms north of Damascus, activists and residents of a nearby town said Sunday. Fighting has been going on since Wednesday in Rankous, 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.But the worst apparently happened after the Arab League suspended its monitoring mission on Saturday. The New York Times reported from Rankous that day that hours after the observers left on Saturday morning, tanks appeared on the outskirts of town.
A resident of the nearby town of Sednaya said the 33 were killed since Wednesday. "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.
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.