Damascus

Syrian troops stormed the Port city of Latakia and sprayed it with gunfire on Saturday, killing at least two people, activists said, as the worlds largest Muslim grouping offered its mediation.

The Syrian Observator

y for Human Rights said, two people were killed and 15 wounded, four of them critically, during a military operation in the southern Latakia area of Ramleh, a nerve centre of anti- regime protests. ” Phonelines and Internet were cut,” said the Observatory. The watchdog said earlier that military vehicles, including tanks and armoured personnel carriers, converged on Ramleh during a ” large demonstration calling for the fall of ( President Bashar al-) Assads regime. The Observatory said, the arrival of troops sparked the exodus of a large number of residents, especially women and children.

Security forces raided the Asaliba district, also in the Mediterranean city, arresting ” more than 70 people” in a door- to- door crackdown, it said, adding that women who resisted the arrest of their children were harassed and beaten.

” There was heavy gunfire and explosions,” in Asaliba, the Observatory said.

An activist in the central region of Homs said troops backed by two tanks also entered the village of Jussiyeh which borders Lebanon, triggering a stampede across the frontier and to neighbouring areas. Military vehicles, meanwhile, swooped on the town of Qusayr, also in Homs province, where security and intelligence services carried out arrests.

” No one was spared.

Not even women or children,” said the Observatory.

” Ten military trucks, seven security vehicles and 15 buses full of pro- regime militiamen entered these villages.”

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