Syria's state-run TV network is alleging that 120 police and security officers have been killed by "armed gangs" in the northwest town of Jisr al-Shughour, including 82 in an attack on one security post. The report hasn't been independently verified, and the number reported dead has ballooned steadily throughout the day, notes the New York Times. The attacks come in the wake of reports from activists and protesters that Syria had used helicopter gunships and armored cars against the opposition in the town this weekend, killing 25.
The state-run TV report said that residents of the town were "pleading" for the military to intervene. "We will not be silent" about attacks against the state, promised Interior Minister Ibrahim Shaar, a statement the AP believes presages an even harsher wave of government crackdowns. Opposition activists scoffed at the report. "I have seen no evidence of organized violence by protesters," said one Syrian human rights activist currently outside the country. "Protesters do not have weapons they could even use against tanks and helicopters." (Read more Syria stories.)