Syria Cracks Down on Two Coastal Towns

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Photo: Khalil Mazraawi/Getty Images

Syria cracked down on two coastal cities on Tuesday, after the weekend brought on clashes between protesters and security forces. Syrian state security forces tightened their grip on the city of Baniyas and the village of Bayda, raising the ire of local human-rights advocates.

On Sunday, four protesters were killed in Baniyas, and on Monday, witnesses reported that shooting continued to be heard throughout the city. Bayda was reportedly being “punished” for offering refuge to people fleeing Baniyas. Security forces reportedly raided houses in the village and pulled residents into the town square, where they were “collectively beaten” by security agents.

“They formed circles around them in the square, and they beat them,” said human-rights official Wassim Tarif. “They felt like the town was supporting Baniyas.” According to to Damascus-based human-rights advocate Razan Zeitouneh, “Baniyas is still surrounded by army and security. There is fears that it will be attacked this night."

The White House issued a statement condemning the government’s actions. “We are deeply concerned by reports that Syrians who have been wounded by their government are being denied access to medical care,” it said.

Syria Presses Crackdown in Two Cities on Coast [NYT]