Syria Used Human Shields to Raid City: Activists

Damascus suburb of Douma reportedly site of 'raid-and-arrest spree'
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2012 10:15 AM CDT
Syrian government forces speak to a U.N. observer in the Damascus suburb of Douma, Syria, Sunday, May 20, 2012.   (AP Photo/Muzaffar Salman)

(Newser) – Things are reportedly getting worse in Homs—and the towns of Al-Haffa and Rastan and the Damascus suburb of Douma aren't being spared, either, according to activists. A rundown of the latest from Syria:

  • The opposition reports that "civilians are being used as human shields to complete the raid campaign" in Douma, a city in the southwest that has apparently been the site of a "raid-and-arrest spree" and seen explosions and gunfire in recent days.
  • An unconfirmed video reportedly taken in Homs today captured more than a dozen heavy blasts in just an hour, notes CNN. A Sky News editor in Homs reported hearing what sounded like mortar rounds every two minutes.

  • As for the situation in Al-Haffa, a rep for Kofi Annan noted mortars, helicopters, and tanks are said to be used. "There are indications that a large number of civilians are trapped in these towns," said the rep, who issued a demand that UN monitors be allowed into the town.
  • The AP reports that troops attacked Rastan today with helicopter gunships. The centrally located, rebel-held town is apparently a strategic river crossing that has thus far warded off government advances. "The regime is now using helicopters more after its ground troops suffered major losses," noted the head of Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
(Read more Syria stories.)

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