Violence Kills 103 across Syria as 'Terrorists' Attack Homs Gas Pipeline
At least 95 civilians, six members of the security forces, and two deserters were killed in violence across Syria on Monday, activists and a rights group said.
Security forces killed 95 people, including eight children and a woman, the Local Coordination Committees, the main activist group spurring protests on the ground, said.
Seventy-two people were killed in the central opposition bastion Homs, fifteen in the southern cradle of the uprising Daraa, six in the restive countryside around Damascus and two in the flashpoint northwestern province of Idlib, the LCC said.
Near the capital, meanwhile, troops penetrated Rankous, 40 kilometers north of Damascus, after shelling the town which had been encircled for the past six days, the Observatory said.
Security forces also stormed the flashpoint city of Homs, killing a family of six and a young girl, who was hit by gunfire from a checkpoint in the Karm al-Zeitoun district, according to the Britain-based rights group.
Another civilian was killed by gunfire in Karm al-Zeitoun, and one in the neighborhood of al-Khalidiyeh, also in Homs.
Four civilians were reportedly killed in the Qussour district, while another was hit by machinegun fire in Baba Amro and a man was shot dead by sniper fire in the city's Wadi Iran quarter.
A young man was shot dead in town of Qusseir in the Homs province, the Observatory said.
It claimed that unidentified assailants killed a doctor in Shammas, also in Homs, while the state news agency said Dr. Mustafa Safar was shot dead by a "terrorist group."
Separately, rebel soldiers "attacked a minibus carrying six security officers on their way to make arrests in Hirak, killing all of the passengers," said the Observatory, in statements received by Agence France Presse.
Government forces responded by deploying two tanks which opened fire and killed three civilians in the southern city of Daraa, it said.
Elsewhere in the province of Daraa, cradle of the 10-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's regime, a civilian was killed by indiscriminate gunfire in the town of Saida, the watchdog added.
Near the capital, the Observatory and activists at the scene said deserters pulled out of Rankous as the army moved in. The military assault reportedly claimed the lives of two deserters and left dozens of civilians wounded.
In the eastern suburbs of Irbin and Hammouriyeh, snipers were "shooting at everything that moves," the watchdog said.
Armed clashes also erupted between the army and mutinous soldiers in Hirak, further south in Khirbet Ghazaleh and Saida, as well as in Nassib, a village on the border with Jordan.
Meanwhile, the Syrian state news agency reported a "terrorist group" attacked a gas pipeline in Homs province, near the border with Lebanon.
"An armed terrorist group has targeted a pipeline between Homs and Banias, near the town of Tal Kalakh, in a sabotage operation," SANA reported, without elaborating.
Syrian cities have been subjected to energy shortages for several weeks, which the authorities blame on "armed terrorist groups."
The opposition says the regime carries them out to punish protest hubs.
Since mid-March, Assad's regime has faced an unprecedented protest movement. The United Nations estimated at the start of January that more than 5,400 people had been killed in the ensuing crackdown on dissent.