SYRIA

Tanks roll into Rastan: “This is collective punishment"

 The Syrian town of Rastan woke to the sound of approaching tanks Monday morning as some 40 army vehicles rolled in at dawn. Our Observer on the ground describes the situation.  

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The Syrian town of Rastan woke to the sound of approaching tanks Monday morning as some 40 army vehicles rolled in at dawn. Our Observer on the ground says that the tanks have entered the town. He describes the situation.

 

Rastan is located halfway between Homs and Hama, two of the cities most impacted by the regime’s brutal repression of protests.

 

"This is a sort of collective punishment"

 

Hassan is an activist who belongs to Rastan’s Coordination Committee.

 

The intervention started at around 5.30 am. They set up checkpoints at the entrance to the city, but some residents managed to flee anyway. Soldiers have now come into the city, so it’s very risky to go out into the street. One woman was killed and three other people were wounded this morning [FRANCE 24 has not yet been able to independently confirm these figures]. Soldiers have been shooting every which way, targeting houses in particular.

  

Residents watch tanks roll by. Video posted on YouTube.

 

I think there are two reasons for this intervention. There have been major protests in Rastan in the past few days, and many soldiers in the region have recently deserted the army. So I think this military operation is a sort of collective punishment.”

 

A protest held Sunday night in Rastan. Video posted on YouTube.

Post written with FRANCE 24 journalist Sarra Grira.