The Syrian Army Is On The Offensive Again, Burning Crops And Killing Protesters

Syria Troop Carrier

Photo: AP

Syrian forces have invaded Jisr al-Shughour today in response to the alleged killing of 120 security personnel by protesters, according to the BBC.The city is surrounded with dozens of tanks as up to 5,000 soldiers infiltrate the city.

The BBC is funelling tweets to its site from residents on the ground:

  • @Le Shaque – Tanks are firing randomly at “anything in front of them, they just shot at.”
  • @ Daram – Security forces are setting fire to crops and wheat fields around the city.
  • @Zain – Heavy gunfire and explosions at site of massive protests.
  • @Zain – “Gunshooting at a huge protest in Bustan Al-Seidawi and Qussour neighbourhoods which neighbour each other.”
  • @Bsyria – Syrian forces killed two demonstrators in Bosra al-Harir.
  • @BSyria – Only men are left in Jsr al-Shughour. Children and women have run away.

Follow these live updates here and the blog at al Jazeera.

Most foreign journalists are banned from Syria, so verifying reports is difficult, but it also appears mass defections of troops to rebels has been credibly reported.

Jisr al-Shughour typically has a population of about 41,000 but thousands have fled to neighbouring Turkey receiving humanitarian relief. Talking to human rights organisations refugees have provided information suggesting a far greater number of civilians have been killed than previously believed.

Huge protests are underway across the country as shown in this YouTube video:

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