Syrian troops kill 11 and storm town near Turkey

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The Independent Online

The Syrian army yesterday shot dead 11 people near the Lebanese border and also stormed a town near the border with Turkey.

The shooting in the town of Qusair also wounded many others, according to several Syrian human rights and activists groups.

That incident, combined with the early morning assault on the town of Saraqeb near the Turkish border, reflected the determination of President Assad to crush the five-month old uprising, despite mounting international condemnation.

And in a continuing nationwide campaign of arrests, Syrian activists yesterday confirmed that security forces had detained Abdul-Karim Rihawi, the Damascus-based head of the Syrian Human Rights League. A long-time rights activist, Mr Rihawi had been tracking government violations and documenting deaths in Syria.

On Wednesday, the United States imposed new sanctions and a flurry of foreign diplomats have visited Damascus, urging President Assad to end a campaign of violence that rights groups say has left about 1,700 dead.

Yesterday the White House confirmed that President Barack Obama had spoken with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to underscore his deep concern about the Syrian government's use of violence against civilians.

Mr Obama and Mr Erdogan agreed to consult closely on the situation in the coming days.

In Turkey, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu yesterday renewed calls for an end to the bloodshed and said that Turkey would be monitoring developments closely.