‘Many killed’ amid fresh Syria protests

Al Jazeera reports:

At least 23 people have been killed by security forces in Syria, many of them when the army attacked a northernwestern town, activists say.

A Syrian opposition figure told the AP news agency by telephone that tanks shelled had Maarat al-Numan on Friday, after thousands of protesters overwhelmed security officers and torched the courthouse and police station.

Syria’s state-run television appeared to confirm at least part of the report, saying gunmen had opened fire on security headquarters in the town, in Idlib province, causing casualties among security officials.

Al Jazeera also reports:

Thousands of Syrians have fled to Turkey to escape violence and more are sheltering near the border, officials say.

A senior Turkish diplomat said 4,300 Syrians had crossed the border as of Saturday morning and that Turkey was prepared for a further influx.

“Turkey welcomed a great many number of guests in the past in their times of most dire need. We can do that again,” Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Halit Cevik was quoted as saying by state-run Anatolian news agency.

Most of those fleeing come from the town of Jisr al-Shughur and nearby villages, where Syrian troops backed by tanks, helicopters and heavy armour have been operating for several days, trying to crush a nearly three-month anti-government uprising.

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