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Syria sends army reinforcements into Deraa


The Syrian army has sent more tanks and reinforcements into Deraa as part of a widening crackdown against opponents of the government, and sporadic explosions are being heard in the flashpoint southern city, witnesses say.

Witnesses said a convoy of about 30 tanks were seen on the circular highway outside the Syrian capital, Damascus, on Wednesday.

Troops have been deployed since Monday in Deraa - where the uprising began more than five weeks ago - and activists said more gunfire could be heard on Wednesday.

A resident of Deraa, speaking under the condition of anonymity for his own safety, said that security forces had taken over the town hospital, and were shooting at anyone who approached the building.

"Snipers are on top of all the buildings in Deraa and there are lots of bodies on the streets," the man said in a phone interview. "They were left on the street for three days and we couldn't remove them."

Troops had sealed off the town, and were searching homes at night.


Late on Tuesday, SANA, the official Syrian news agency, reported the army "continued to chase armed groups and extremists in Deraa who attacked military positions, cut off roads and forced passers-by to stop so they could hit them".

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