Damascus Wakes Up to Bodies in Street

Fighting intense in capital
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 24, 2012 10:31 AM CDT
This image made from amateur video purports to show the destruction of houses by shelling from Syrian government forces in Damascus, Syria, Aug. 8, 2012.   (AP Photo/Shaam News Network, SSN)
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(Newser) – Syrian regime tanks swept into a Damascus suburb yesterday, killing 25 people and wounding 200 more, opposition activists said today. Government forces met with little resistance there, Reuters reports; rebels had already cleared out of the town. Damascus isn't getting as much press as Aleppo, but it's become an epicenter of violence in Syria, the Washington Post reports. Rebels typically flee in the face of Syrian troop advances, but their departure is followed by the slaughter of civilians in their wake. By one group's count, 730 civilians have been killed in the capital this month, compared to 529 in Aleppo.

Dozens of mutilated, bloodied bodies have been found recently in the streets of formerly rebel-held Damascus neighborhoods. The regime is punishing rebel supporters, one activist said, "and the punishment is applied equally to those who are active in the revolution and also those who are just living there." The victims are mostly men, including the elderly, and many show signs of torture. "Frankly, there are few witnesses," a Human Rights Watch official says. "People are waking up and finding bodies on the side of the road." (Read more Damascus stories.)

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