Deir al-Zour: The Syrian army is shelling the eastern city of Deir al-Zour for a second day, reports say, as regional pressure mounts on President Bashar al-Assad. Activists and residents said explosions and gunfire resumed early on Monday, and that troops backed by tanks had re-entered the city’s eastern side.At least 50 people died on Sunday after the army launched a pre-dawn assault.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah said the violence against civilian protesters in Syria was unacceptable.
He said the Mr Assad’s government had to implement real reforms and stop what he called the “death machine” before it was too late.
Turkey and the Arab League earlier made similar appeals.
Human rights activists say at least 1,700 civilians have been killed and tens of thousands arrested since the uprising began in mid-March.
On Monday, the Local Co-ordination Committees, an activist group that documents and organises protests, said machine-gun and artillery fire could once again be heard in Deir al-Zour.
Mohammed Akbar, a resident, told the media that armoured vehicles were shelling the al-Hawiqa district heavily with 76mm (3in) guns.
The al-Joura district, which straddles the Euphrates river, was also hit hard and thousands of residents of both areas had fled, he said.
“Private hospitals are closed and people are afraid to send the wounded to state facilities because they are infested with secret police,” he added.
The assault on Deir al-Zour, about 450km (280 miles) east of Damascus, began during the dawn call to prayer on Sunday, with scores of tanks and armoured personnel carriers moving into several parts of the city.
Residents of the al-Joura district said that snipers had taken up positions on the rooftops of several buildings. They also reported that some soldiers had defected rather than shoot civilians.