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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Rights Groups: Syrian Forces Raid More Cities

VOA News May 08, 2011

Syrian rights groups say security forces have stormed at least three more cities, detaining more than 200 people in the coastal city of Banias and killing a young boy in the central city of Homs.

The detentions in Banias, including the arrest of a 10-year-old child, come a day after troops killed six people in the sealed-off city. Witnesses say at least 25 tanks are patrolling the city of about 50,000 people to quell anti-government protests.

In Homs, activists say troops killed a 12-year-old boy while charging into several of the city's districts.

Witnesses say authorities have cut electricity and communications in both cities. Banias and Homs have served as hubs of protests against President Bashar al-Assad, who launched a military crackdown on opposition demonstrations.

The flashpoint city of Daraa was the first target of the government's military crackdown. The military said Thursday it had "carried out its mission in detaining terrorists" in Daraa and restored calm in the city.

However, residents said tanks, troops and snipers still were restricting their movement.

Elsewhere Sunday, residents of the southern town of Tafas say they heard gunfire as Syrian forces swept in to make arrests.

Rights groups say at least 600 people have been killed in Syria's crackdown on nationwide anti-government unrest. They say as many as 8,000 people are either missing or detained.

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