Syria on Soldier Deaths: We Will React 'With Force'
Town of Jisr al-Shughour braces for military assault
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 7, 2011 7:31 AM CDT
Map locates Jisr al-Shughour, Syria, where there reportedly was a violent clash between security forces and armed groups.   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Residents of the Syrian town of Jisr al-Shughour are bracing themselves for a military assault, after Syria promised to respond “with force” to the killing of its soldiers there. The government says 120 were killed in an ambush by “armed gangs” yesterday. It’s clear that there was some violence, the BBC reports, but opposition activists say the circumstances are unclear; some speculate that the soldiers were killed by their comrades for refusing to fire on protesters.

“We don’t have any kind of weapons,” one resident of the town said. “The soldiers were coming our way, then they were shot in the back by some Syrian security elements.” Syrian state TV talked to purported residents who urged the army to oust the “armed gangs.” But on Facebook, residents asked the outside world to save them from approaching regime forces. YouTube footage appeared to show a giant sign in the town square reading, “Jisr al-Shughour doesn’t want the army to come in.”