Latakia: Renewed heavy gunfire is reported in the Syrian port city of Latakia as a military crackdown on unrest entered a third day. Activists say 27 people have died and that residents trying to flee the Ramel district, including women and children, have been fired on by troops.The government says it is tackling armed terrorist gangs.
More than 1,700 people have reportedly died in the six-month uprising against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.
The Ramel quarter and neighbouring areas are said to be under constant heavy gunfire as tanks and troops move through the streets.
The assault began on Saturday, a day after mass anti-government protests in the city.
On Sunday activists said Syrian warships had joined the attack, firing shells on the city.
One resident of Ramel told media : “We are being targeted from the ground and the sea. The shooting is intense. We cannot go out. They are raiding and breaking into people’s homes.”
He said that at least three gunboats were taking part and mosques had been targeted.
A UK-based Anglican priest who is visiting his family in Latakia said the atmosphere in the city was extremely tense.
“[On Sunday] you could hear a lot of shooting and bombing from different parts of the city,” the Reverend Nadim Nassar told the BBC. “The whole city is now shut… the fear is very high and people don’t know what’s going on and what is next,” he said.
The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least one young child had been killed.