Syrian Army Attacks Jisr al-Shughour as Britain Calls for ‘Clear’ U.N. Statement

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

Under the rattle of heavy gunfire and loud explosions, Syrian army troops and tanks moved into a restive northwestern city from two sides Sunday, extending the crackdown on a region that is historically hostile the Damascus regime.

The Local Coordination Committee, which documents Syrian anti-government protests, said Jisr al-Shughour was attacked from the southern and eastern sides by troops in about 200 vehicles, including tanks. It said blasts were heard as helicopters clattered overhead.

The region near Turkey's border has a history of hostility toward the Syrian regime and is posing the biggest challenge yet to President Bashar Assad's struggle to crush the anti-government revolt. Thousands of Syrians in the region have crossed into Turkey in recent days, taking sanctuary in refugee camps.

The Syrian government has said the town was under the control of "armed men" who it said killed 120 police officers last week. Activists said the victims were killed when soldiers and police mutinied, turning their weapons on government forces.

Syrian forces told an Associated Press reporter invited to travel with them to Jisr al-Shughour that they were arresting "gunmen" in the largely evacuated city, normally home to about 40,000 people. Many of those who remained behind fled on Sunday, if they could.

The AP reporter said government soldiers took reporters into the town's National Hospital where they saw at least two dead bodies.

The operation in al-Shughour was continuing at midday.

Syria's state-run news agency SANA said army units entered the area after dismantling explosives planted by gunmen on roads and bridges. It added that "heavy" clashes broke out between the army units and gunmen inside Jisr al-Shughour and areas surrounding it.

Jisr al-Shughour is a predominantly Sunni town with some Alawite and Christian villages nearby in Idlib province. Most Syrians are Sunni Muslim, but Assad and the ruling elite belong to the minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

Syria-based human rights activist Mustafa Osso said the army is conducting military operations in three areas in the Idlib province including the towns of Maaret al-Numan, Jisr al-Shughour, and the nearby Jabal al-Zawiya, a mountain that includes several village.

Osso said advancing troops, using tanks, artillery and helicopters gunships, were fighting against hundreds of army defectors from the area. "This is the biggest and most dangerous wave of defections" since an uprising against Assad's regime began in mid-March, Osso said.

There have been smaller instances of defections in the southern city of Daraa and the western town of Talkalakh that witnessed military operations in the past weeks.

Human rights groups say more than 1,400 people nationwide have died in the government crackdown since the uprising erupted in southern Syria 12 weeks ago.

Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the U.N. Security Council must make a "clear statement" on Syria by proceeding with a resolution condemning the crackdown by government forces.

As international outrage at the brutal crackdown on demonstrators mounted, Hague said the prospects for a resolution were "on a knife-edge.”

Hague also told Sky News that it was "high time" that Assad spoke to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Comments 11
Default-user-icon xen (Guest) 12 June 2011, 14:26

Assad regime will not fall easily especially russia & china are backing up

Thumb Marc 12 June 2011, 15:30

I just read that many of the soldiers are leaving the army and joining the opposition! This is not going to gt better any time soon

Default-user-icon anonym (Guest) 12 June 2011, 15:43

Assad's regime will not fall easily at all, a lot of whats bein said in the media is total fabrication and this has been proven countless times over, it is in no ones interest to see assad's regime's go, the only nation who has a key ahnd in this mass is the zionist regime, the only reaosn all this is happening is cause they want to cut off the head of the snake which is feeding hizbullah here, thats the whole big fuss.

besides Assad's regime is not like his father's, so to speak this guy is opening up doors for his nation slowly but he's trying, and I don't believe he's the ruthless killer his father was, the international community knows this very well but they've got scores to settle with the hizb here and are playing a dirty game, in which they will loose.

Default-user-icon Le Phenicien (Guest) 12 June 2011, 16:38

It's very funny to find that the so called " peaceful " revolutionaries , are better equipped than the Syrian army , and have sophisticated weapons and very well trained fighters !

Do you still believe that this revolution is peaceful ? Aren't you convinced YET that it's nothing but a Sunni Salafi Wahhaby revolution done by the pétrodollars countries and executed by international terrorists " al qaida " like all over in the Arab countries and soon in Africa ..!!??

President ASSAD will kill the last one of them , Thank god they cannot do the same ecénario in Lebanon , thanks to the MOU " entente " between HEZB and FPM .

Default-user-icon MUSTAPHA O. GHALAYINI (Guest) 12 June 2011, 16:59

who is defecting from the syrian army?why?but adou el sahyouny?

Default-user-icon George Mac. (Guest) 12 June 2011, 18:23

I am sure there must be a solution: Partitioning of Syria. A part goes to the Alawet, A part for the Christians which could also be merged with a part of lebanon because if Syria is partitioned lebanon will follow suit no doubt. This solution is logical because no side wants to budge down. A smooth transition could be handled by the UN and the Golan heights goes to the Sunni in Syria.

When the situation in former Ypgoslavia occurred amny people died unnecessarily until the time came when only partitioning was the solution and look at them now, they co-exist in harmony despite few trifle differences. I really believe Assad could be a great presdient given his wit and education on his partitioned part. At that time, he would have realised how wrong was he in applying the iron fist on his nation. It's a reality that no one could deny that syria is governed by a minority on a religious scale something that is not welcomed in the arab world while it's very normal in the west.

Default-user-icon bdine (Guest) 12 June 2011, 21:06

Assad is massacaring his people in front of all these incompetent arabs not even one voice from any arab leader what a bunch of useless inhumane cowards.
I salute the courageous Syrian people protesting against their dictator, and spit on the cowardly syrian army who is killing their own citizens. the syrian army has always had the reputation of being nothing but a bunch of cowards now its been proven..

Default-user-icon MUSTAPHA O. GHALAYINI (Guest) 12 June 2011, 21:06

nato transferred its ground general command to turkey,and american emissaries in germany and france to open the doors to turkey joining the european unity, shortly we will see a safe zone of 10~20 km all along the syrian turkish border for refugees...under the banner of nato and air cover from nato too,and ardogan is winning largely the election in turkey today......the regime in syria is doomed,the only variable is time and the # of casualties.....but one thing is sure the assad grip on lebanon is dying a bit by bit..

Missing urotherside 13 June 2011, 00:10

No to the muslim brotherhood. Much rather have Assad then the MBs

Thumb 13 June 2011, 00:23

Is it unfortunate or is it divine justice that what the Syrian sowed in Lebanon, they are harvesting in their own land.

The same appalling brutality used by the Syrian regime in Lebanon is now being used in Syria. I pity those on the receiving end.

Missing urotherside 13 June 2011, 05:33

Britain should could keep their mouth shut. They handed over palestine to european jews, and they do not ever call for "clean" UN statement on Israel's violation of west bank and gaza. HYPOCRITES.