Syria Denies It’s Shelling Latakia
August 15, 2011 by UPI - United Press International, Inc.
DAMASCUS, Syria, Aug. 15 (UPI) — Syrian military sources said Monday that reports the country’s navy was shelling neighborhoods in the port city of Latakia are without merit.
Rami Abdel Rahman, president of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in London, told CNN at least five people had been killed by artillery fire and heavy machine gun fire from Syrian ships.
Rahman said information emerging from neighborhoods in the city said two people were killed Saturday when the naval barrage started.
He said the areas being targeted are mostly densely residential districts that are heavily patrolled by armed forces and “mass organized resistance is difficult.”
An unidentified military source was quoted by the official Syrian Arab News Agency as saying that media reports of shelling in Latakia are “completely untrue.” The source noted Syrian naval patrols are conducting routine duties aimed at preventing the smuggling of weapons.
SANA adds that residents in Latakia said the reports of tank deployments and heavy shelling weren’t true.
Opposition groups said Monday that more than 40 people were killed in the siege on Latakia, however.
A crackdown on opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad claimed thousands of lives since the unrest began early this year. The U.N. Security Council hasn’t intervened beyond a statement of condemnation.