Fresh violence in Syria kills dozens, including women and children


Junior Member
Violence by the Syrian regime against civilians has left at least 30 people killed across the country, the Local Coordination Committees (LCC) reported on Saturday.

The assault was a continuation after the Syrian army killed at least 17 civilians, including nine women and three children, in the flashpoint southern town of Deraa early on Saturday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The killings took place in a residential neighborhood of the town where the uprising against the Syrian regime erupted in March last year, the British-based watchdog said.

Dozens of people were also wounded in the pre-dawn bombardment, some of them seriously, the Observatory said.

Meanwhile, Shams News Network (SNN) reported that at least 23 people were killed across the country, including 20 in Deraa.

Mobile communications in the town were cut off on Saturday morning, it added.

In central Damascus, rebels brazenly battled government security forces in the heart of the capital Friday for the first time, witnesses said, and explosions echoed for hours. Government artillery repeatedly pounded the central city of Homs and troops tried to storm it from three sides.

The group, which monitors violence in Syria through a network of sources inside the country, reported fighting in the town between the army and rebels after the shelling.

In addition to the deaths in Deraa, the Observatory said 44 civilians were killed across the country on Friday, nearly half of them in the central province of Homs and in Damascus districts and suburbs.

Twenty-five soldiers were also killed on Friday, it said, in the provinces of Idlib, Damascus, Deir al-Zor, Homs and Deraa.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with international peace envoy Kofi Annan in Washington to discuss how to salvage his faltering plan to end 15 months of bloodshed in Syria.

The deaths in Daraa came amid an international outcry over the killings of civilians on Wednesday in an assault on al-Qubair, a Sunni farming enclave of some 150 people in the central province of Hama which is encircled by Alawite villages.

More than 13,500 people have been killed since the uprising erupted, according to the Observatory’s figures.

Meanwhile, leaders of the exiled Syrian National Council (SNC) met in Turkey on Saturday to pick a new leader after the resignation of Burhan Ghalioun last month to avert divisions in the opposition bloc.

Sources in the group said the aim was to pick a “consensus” candidate who would be acceptable to Islamists, liberals and nationalists. They said it could be Abdel Basset Sayda, a Kurd, and member of the SNC’s executive.