Syrian TV shows "mass grave" of security forces amid crackdown
Syrian state television broadcast images of what it said was a "mass grave" containing the mutilated corpses of security forces amid clashes in the province of Idleb, according to state news agency SANA on Monday.
SANA said that the corpses of security forces killed near the town of Jisr al-Shughur were found "beheaded with sharp cleavers" and with gunshot wounds to various parts of the bodies, DPA reported.
The official news agency said that the army units on Monday "restored security and tranquility to Jisr al-Shaghur after clearing it from the armed terrorist groups".
However, activists say the town is subjected to heavy shelling by military helicopters and tanks, according to the Syrian Revolution group online.
At least 1,300 people have been killed and over 10,000 detained since protests calling for the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad began mid-March, according to rights groups and activists.
Syrian television broadcast on Sunday what it said was the confession of a member of an "armed terrorist group" in Jisr al-Shugour.
The man allegedly confessed that he and others recently raped women, and killed security forces before dumping their bodies in a river last week.
The government has continually blamed what it says are armed terrorist groups for attacks on military and police throughout the country, particularly the deaths of 120 security personnel last week in Jisr al-Shughur.
The opposition maintains the deaths were of defectors who were executed by their fellow soldiers.
Tanks advanced inside the town on Saturday, after randomly shooting at houses for two days, according to activists.
However, SANA reported that people greeted the military with "flowers and rice" and that the army units were careful to ensure the safety of homes.
The government said its operations aim to restore security in the town, located near the Turkish border.
Residents and activists set-up a field hospital in the mountains, which was discovered by security forces, reported SANA.
Fierce clashes over the weekend killed one soldier, according to the government.
Due to restrictions on journalists in Syria, it is difficult to assess how many members of the opposition and local residents have died in the clashes.
Approximately 5,000 Syrians have fled the town, crossing into Turkey for refuge in anticipation of the military incursion.