Syrian forces kill 11 people near Damascus, activist says

Syrian security forces shot dead at least 11 people, including a child aged seven, in a "vengeance" raid on the town of Kanaker near Damascus early Wednesday, a human rights activist said.

"The security forces entered homes at dawn on Wednesday and during the operation 11 people were shot dead and more than 250 arrested," said Ammar Qurabi, head of the National Organization for Human Rights, reached by telephone from Nicosia.

He said the operation in Kanaker, a town of 25,000 people, was backed by "a bulldozer and army tanks" and targeted people aged between 15 and 40.

According to Qurabi, the raid was an "act of vengeance" because inhabitants had supplied provisions to anti-regime protesters in the southern city of Daraa, the main hub of protests against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's rule.

Another advocacy group, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, in a statement emailed to AFP, named eight people it said were killed in Wednesday's crackdown in Kanaker.

"The army and the security forces entered Kanaker at dawn and opened fire in the town," the statement said.

"Residents of Kanaker threw stones at the tanks" and erected burning tire barricades in the streets, it added.

According to the Observatory, seven tanks initially were positioned at the west side of town, seven at the main entrance while four entered from the east side along with a bulldozer.

The four tanks later withdrew to the main entrance under a barrage of stones while residents re-erected barricades destroyed by the bulldozer.

The statement added that a number of mosques had been "turned into civilian hospitals" to treat those injured in the military raid.

The authorities have used deadly force to quell dissent, with at least 1,486 civilians reported killed since the uprising began mid-March, thousands arrested and thousands more fleeing the country, human rights groups say.
-AFP/NOW Lebanon

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