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Syrians flee into Turkey from fresh Russia backed Alawite violence

Publication time: 6 April 2012, 18:43
The Alawite government has stepped up its offensive against opposition activists with the fresh hostilities prompting an influx of refugees into neighboring Turkey.

With fighting escalating in several locations across the country, the stream of Syrians fleeing into southern Turkey has increased, with about 2,500 crossing over on Thursday alone.

Turkey has in the past floated the idea of creating a small buffer zone inside Syria if refugee flows become overwhelming.

The new refugees are crossing into the Turkish village of Bukulmez and being transported to a camp at Reyhanli.

The Alawite army is destroying buildings and bombing them till they turn to charcoal in Kastanaz, a Syrian town of 20,000 people.

Thousands of Syrians have also fled to Lebanon and Jordan since the uprising began. An estimated total 50,000 to 60,000 have left the country.

The apparent trigger for the fresh wave of refugees is a renewed assault on the Syrian town of Idlib, in the country's northwest, by the Assad regime army. Scores have been killed in the village of Taftanaz, and that the nearby village of Killi was being shelled on Friday. The Alawites devastated Taftanaz, all houses demolished, everything destroyed.

Russian-made helicopters and tanks are bombarding continuously. Taftanaz has been burnt to the ground for three days.

In the central Syrian city of Homs, meanwhile, thick black smoke billowed from a residential area on Friday and sounds of heavy gunfire and explosions could be heard.

Assad regime forces have also targeted the town of Rastan, just north of Homs, with heavy machine-guns and mortars.

Ground Alawite troops have entered the city and clashed with opposition fighters.

Rastan has been under siege by the Assad's forces since late January.

Alawite regime forces also broadened an offensive in the Damascus suburbs of Douma, Saqba, Arbeen and Dumair, exchanging fire with rebels, activists said.

In Douma, activists said Assad's snipers had set up positions and that tanks were patrolling the town's streets. Activists also reported shelling in the town.

At least 24 Syrian Muslims had been killed in Alawite violence across the country on Friday.

At least 10 people had died in shelling, including four freedom fighters, in Homs.

Two Assad's soldiers were killed in separate clashes, and one person was killed in Douma.

Seven civilians and four Assad's soldiers had been killed in clashes and bombardment in Anadan, north of Aleppo.

Also on Friday, tens of thousands of protesters marched in towns across the country, calling for Assad to step down.

In the central province of Hama, Alawite troops opened fire on peaceful demonstrators, wounding three people.

Source: Agencies

Kavkaz Center



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