At least 61 die in shelling, executions in Syrian town: activists

At least 61 Syrians were killed on Thursday after troops stormed the contested town of al-Sanamein in the southern province of Deraa. (Reuters)

At least 61 Syrians were killed, some of them in cold blood, after troops stormed the contested town of al-Sanamein in the southern province of Deraa, opposition activists and a monitoring group said on Thursday.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said dozens of civilians, including children, were killed on Wednesday in shelling and summary executions after forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad entered al-Sanamein.

There was no immediate comment from Syrian state officials.

Security forces had been fighting anti-Assad rebels in the town in Deraa, a province bordering Jordan that has become a focal point of battles as both sides seek to control Syria’s frontiers and seize supply lines to the capital, Damascus.

Rami Abdelrahman, head of the Observatory, which uses a network of contacts in Syria, told Reuters by telephone that the situation was still too confused to determine how many people had died in the fighting and how many in cold blood.

“Residents say there were heavy clashes yesterday and later security forces stormed the town. As they entered, they started shelling some districts and other gunmen were executing people,” he said.

Dozens of houses had been destroyed in shelling or by fire, Abdelrahman said.

Activist groups in Deraa said more than 61 people had been killed.

Video uploaded by residents showed rows of corpses laid outside a building, their faces covered in blood and their bodies wrapped in blankets, with names scribbled on sheets of paper placed on top of them. Some of the dead appeared to be young children.

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Last Update: 12:13 KSA 15:13 - GMT 12:13
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