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Syria's Boukmal city in simmering tension: report

Arab World Materials 18 July 2011 14:49
The situation in the northeastern city of al-Boukmal on the Syrian-Iraqi borders is still in " simmering tension" after the "regretful events" it has recently passed through, local private daily al-Watan said Monday.
Syria's Boukmal city in simmering tension: report

The situation in the northeastern city of al-Boukmal on the Syrian-Iraqi borders is still in " simmering tension" after the "regretful events" it has recently passed through, local private daily al-Watan said Monday.

It said groups of protesters have turned into "armed groups" and carried out sabotaging acts and terrorized citizens, leaving six civilians killed. Hence some residents have fled the city to nearby villages, Xinhua reported.

The paper said gunmen have been stationed at the city's main square, which has been brought to a complete standstill, adding that some border areas have become outlets for bringing in weapons and money to destabilize the country.

Al-Watan said Syrian government troops are currently stationed at the outskirts of the city, in contrast with some media reports claiming that Syrian troops have flown into the city by helicopters on Sunday.

The Doha-based al-Jazeera TV cited witnesses earlier saying that Syrian army units flew into the city by helicopters on Sunday, where activist said about six anti-government protestors were killed Sunday by security forces.

In a related development, the Local Coordination Committee, a group of activists that track the protests in Syria, said Syrian army and security forces stormed Sunday al-Zabadani area near the Lebanese borders and conducted house-to- house raids, cut off electricity and internet connections and arrested more than 60 people.

Al-Zabadani town, near Lebanon's borders and some 25 miles (40 kilometers) northwest of Damascus, is known to be a smuggling route for drugs, weapons and almost everything from neighboring Lebanon.

Syria has been in unrest since mid March when anti-government protests broke out in the southern province of Daraa and spread to other cities. The Syrian authorities blamed the unrest on "armed groups and foreign conspiracy" and stressed that it would track down gunmen who have intimidated people and damaged public and private properties.

The Syrian government said 1,200 members of security forces and army personnel had died since the eruption of protests. According to activists, more than 1,600 civilians died and some 10,000 have been detained.

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