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December 7, 2021

Syrian town braces for army assault after 120 police killed

France pushes for UN Security Council resolution condemning the country for its brutal handling of the uprising against al-Assad’s regime.

DAMASCUS – The northern Syrian town of Jisr al-Shughour is bracing for an assault by the military after the government said 120 security forces personnel had been killed there by “armed gangs”, according to BBC News. The government says it will act “with force” to restore control. Activists say the source of the violence is unclear, possibly involving a military mutiny. Residents have posted messages on Facebook saying they fear a slaughter and appealing for help from outside. Activists insist the uprising against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad is peaceful and scorn the government’s talk of armed gangs.

Dozens of Syrians who crossed the northern border into Turkey are being treated in hospitals in the south-east of the country for wounds they say they received in clashes with Syrian forces, Turkish officials say. One man who crossed the border in a serious condition died from gunshot wounds, a Turkish diplomat said.

Communications were cut to the area around Jisr al-Shughour on Monday and the details of the attack were impossible to verify. Syria does not allow foreign journalists to report on events. But Syrian state television said hundreds of gunmen had taken over Jisr al-Shughour, which lies about 20km from the Turkish border. It said “armed gangs” ambushed police and 20 officers died. It said another 82 personnel were killed when the town’s security headquarters were overwhelmed, eight in a bomb attack on a post office and 120 overall.

Meanwhile, France said it is prepared to ask the UN Security Council to vote on a resolution condemning Syria for its brutal handling of the uprising against al-Assad’s regime, according to Euronews. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppa was speaking at the Brookings Institution, a think-tank in Washington, after a day of talks with US officials including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “The situation is now very clear,” Juppe said. “In Syria, the process of reform is dead and we think that Bashar has lost his legitimacy to rule the country. This is a point that I have discussed with Hillary Clinton. We think, all together, that now we must go ahead and circulate this draft resolution in the Security Council.” Juppe said Paris believed that strong support in the 15-member council might persuade the Russians “to change their mind”. “We think that it will be possible to get 11 votes in favour of the resolution and we’ll see what the Russians will do,” he said. The draft resolution was drawn up by France, Britain, Germany and Portugal. The document condemns violence at the hands of the regime of President Assad and asks him to open Syrian cities to humanitarian teams.

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