Syrian forces shoot dead 8 protesters

Syrian forces shoot dead 8 protesters

Another town taken by troops

The protests came hours after Syrian troops backed by tanks and helicopter gunships seized control early Friday of another northwestern town in the latest military operation to quell the dissent.

Since the protests erupted in mid-March, Assad has unleashed the military to crush street demonstrations. Human rights activists say more than 1,400 Syrians have been killed and 10,000 detained.

“What is our guilt? We just demanded freedom and democracy nothing else,” said Mohamed, who spoke from a refugee camp in neighbouring Turkey and asked to be identified only by his first name.

“I saw people who were beheaded with machine-gun fire from helicopters,” and a man tortured to death when security forces “poured acid on to his body,” he said.

Mohamed is among some 9,600 people are seeking shelter in Turkish refugee camps. He fled with his family as the military besieged Jisr al-Shughour, a rebellious town the government recaptured last Sunday.

Trial and execution

He said a sugar factory in the city was turned into a jail where they “hold quick trials and execute anyone who they believe participated in protests.”

The Syrian crackdown has brought international condemnation and sanctions on the regime.

On Friday, a French official said the European Union was preparing new, expanded sanctions that would target the economy.

The Syrian government claims armed gangs and foreign conspirators are behind the unrest, not true reform-seekers.

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