Syria launches attack ahead of deadline
Security forces raided a town in central Syria on Saturday after pounding it with heavy artillery only hours before a deadline for Damascus to stop its lethal crackdown, opposition activists said.
The latest violence came a day after Syrian forces killed 15 civilians, including two children, while dispersing anti-regime protests in flashpoint cities across the country, according to an updated toll from activists.
“Soldiers entered the town of Shayzar in the Hama region after bombing it with heavy artillery. They then began searches,” said an opposition umbrella group, the Local Coordination Committees.
In a new toll from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 15 civilians died on Friday, up from an earlier figure of 12.
The government of President Bashar al-Assad has yet to officially respond to Arab League demands that Syria end its bloody suppression of a popular uprising.
Syria has been told by its Arab peers to stop the lethal repression against protesters by 2200 GMT on Saturday or risk sanctions, and the Arab League has already suspended it from the 22-member bloc.
The pan-Arab organisation was expected to issue a statement later on Saturday. - Sapa-AFP