Assad Forces Kill at Least 31 in Continued Crackdown
Toll could hit as high as 69, activists say
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 7, 2011 9:34 AM CDT
A Syrian man holds up a poster bearing an image of Syrian President Bashar Assad during a protest against the Syrian regime, in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Aug. 5, 2011.   (Tara Todras-Whitehill)
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(Newser) – Two Syrian rights groups say government forces have killed at least 31 people in the latest phase of their crackdown on dissent, and the toll for the day could rise to 69. Today's casualties were mainly in the eastern city of Deir el-Zour and the central city of Houleh. "Human conditions in (Deir el-Zour) are very bad since it has been under siege for nine days," says an activist. "There is lack of medicine, baby formula, food stuff and gasoline. The city is totally paralyzed."

The activist said that the military launched a pre-dawn raid, attacking from four sides and taking control of eight neighborhoods as it tries to keep the uprising from escalating during the holy month of Ramadan. In Hama, an official at Hourani Hospital reported that eight newborns died in their incubators on Wednesday when electricity was cut in the city before troops began their attack.