Assad forces fight deserters at northwestern town

AMMAN Tue Oct 25, 2011 6:25pm IST

Related Topics

AMMAN (Reuters) - Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad fought army deserters on Tuesday at a roadblock on the edge of the northwestern town of Maarat al-Numaan, residents and activists said.

Maarat al-Numaan, is sheltering soldiers who defected during a military assault in the central province of Homs -- one of the largest offensives against a seven-month-old popular uprising and a nascent armed insurgency.

"A firefight broke out in the early afternoon at the large barrier which is manned by soldiers and military intelligence personnel. Tanks are also deployed there," a local resident, who gave his name as Raed, said by telephone.

He said the roadblock was attacked in response to a military operation overnight against defectors sheltering around a chicken factory at the outskirts of Maarat al-Numaan.

The town is located in an agricultural area on the main northern highway, 100 km (60 miles) north of the city of Homs and 70 km from Syria's main commercial hub of Aleppo.

Maarat al-Numaan, a key town in the Roman and Islamic era, was a hotbed of resistance to Assad's father, the late President Hafez al-Assad, in the 1980s when his forces crushed Islamist and leftist challenges to his rule, killing tens of thousands.

(Reporting by Khaled Yacoub Oweis, Amman newsroom; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Ebola Outbreak

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Apple's Cook signals front line of new gay rights battle

Cook Speaks Up

Apple's Cook signals front line of new gay rights battle.  Full Article 

Gas Deal

Gas Deal

Ukraine, Russia, EU agree to natural gas supply deal.  Full Article 

Jerusalem Tensions

Jerusalem Tensions

Kerry urges restraint, expresses worry over tensions in Jerusalem.  Full Article 

Active Volcano

Active Volcano

National Guard arrives in Hawaii town threatened by lava.  Full Article 

Syria Crisis

Syria Crisis

U.S. defense chief will not discuss "critical" Syria memo .  Full Article 

Political Upheavel

Political Upheavel

Burkina president rejects opposition calls to step down after violence.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage