DAMASCUS – Syrian forces have attacked a number of north-western towns and villages as part of a military effort to crush protests, activists say, according to the BBC. They say tanks and armoured vehicles entered Taftanaz, Sermin, and Binnish near the Turkish border on Wednesday. Several people are reported to have been killed.
Syria is facing further international pressure over the escalating crackdown. More than 1,700 people are believed to have been killed since March. Tens of thousands of people have reportedly been arrested.
Envoys from India, South Africa and Brazil were expected to hold talks with Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem on Wednesday. On Tuesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, urging the government to end operations against civilian demonstrators. However, President Assad said he would not relent in pursuing “terrorist groups”, but reiterated promises of political reform.
The UN Security Council was also due to resume debate on Syria later on Wednesday. In its first statement on the crackdown last week, the council condemned the violence and called for those responsible to be held “accountable.”
The United States has been pressing for tougher international sanctions against Damascus. There has been speculation that President Barack Obama may call on Bashar al-Assad to stand down.