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Syrian Army, Tanks Operating In City

DEIR EZZOR, Syria, Aug. 7 (UPI) — Syrian troops and tanks were deployed in Deir Ezzor Sunday, a day after U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern about rising violence.

An opposition activist told CNN loud explosions could be heard in a number of neighborhoods after troops entered the city located in northeastern Syria.

The unnamed activist said locals were attempting to set up barricades in the streets to stop the advancing troops.

The ongoing military crackdown on anti-government protesters came a day after Ban told President Bashar Assad via telephone to immediately halt the use of force on civilians, CNN said.

The Turkish daily Sunday’s Zaman said Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu plans to visit Syria and convey a stern message to authorities.

“We have been very patient until now, waiting to see whether we can fix this, whether they will listen to what we have been saying. But our patience has run out,” the daily quoted Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying Saturday night.

The Syrian government announced plans Saturday to hold parliamentary elections by the end of the year, the official SANA news agency said.

Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said the country is committed to moving ahead with reforms and will provide for free and fair elections.

On Saturday, Syrian security forces arrested Walid al-Bunni, a former political prisoner and prominent opposition figure, along with his two sons, Rami Abdel Rahman head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told Sky News.

Weekend clashes between Syrian security forces and protesters were reported in Dara, Damascus, Hama and Idlib, CNN said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimates more than 2,000 people have been killed since the anti-regime protests began in mid-March.

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Since 1907, United Press International (UPI) has been a leading provider of critical information to media outlets, businesses, governments and researchers worldwide.

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