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Syrian troops push into northern town as crackdown on anti-government protests continues

Meanwhile, Britain’s foreign secretary has called for a UN resolution condemning the Syrian government’s use of force.

In this photo taken on Friday during a government-organised visit for media, Syrian soldiers cheer as they enter a village near Jisr al-Shughour.
In this photo taken on Friday during a government-organised visit for media, Syrian soldiers cheer as they enter a village near Jisr al-Shughour.
Image: AP Photo/Bassem Tellawi

SYRIAN GOVERNMENT forces are pushing into the key northern border town of Jisr al-Shughour today as they continue their crackdown on anti-goverment activisits.

The government claimed the town was under the control of armed men who had killed 120 security officers last week. Activists claim the officers were killed when they sided with protesters and turned their weapons on other government forces.

The AFP reports that Britain has called on the UN Security Council to issue a declaration criticising the Syrian government for using force on protesters. British foreign secretary William Hague said there was no possibility of the UN sanctioning military action against Syria, but said it was “high time” Syria’s President Assad spoke with the UN Secretary-General.

Assad has not been taking any calls from Ban Ki-moon lately.

Meanwhile, people continue to cross the border out of Syria and into Turkey. The BBC reports that two refugee camps in Turkey are already full of thousands of people fleeing the Syrian unrest and a third is quickly filling. Supplies, particularly medical items, are in short supply at the camps.

The US and EU have voiced their concerns over the government’s use of force against protesters and have warned of an escalating humanitarian crisis because of Syria’s refusal to allow international aid in. Haaretz reports today that Assad is likely to succeed in quashing the uprising against his government, even if he loses the support of several countries.

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Human rights groups say that over 1,400 people have died in Syria since the uprising began 12 weeks ago.

- Additional reporting by the AP

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