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More killed in Syria clampdown

Syrian security forces have killed more than a dozen people, including a teenage boy, as thousands of people poured into the streets across the country calling for the regime to go, according to activists.

The unrest also appeared to be spilling over into neighbouring Lebanon.

A senior member of a Lebanese political party allied with Syria was killed after gunmen opened fire and lobbed a grenade near hundreds of people holding a protest against Syrian President Bashar Assad in northern Lebanon.

The protests in Syria came hours after Syrian troops backed by tanks and helicopter gunships seized control of another north-west town in the latest military operation to quell the dissent.

Since the protests erupted in mid-March, Assad has unleashed the military to crush street demonstrations. Human rights activists said more than 1,400 Syrians have been killed and 10,000 detained.

Refugees in Turkey offered fresh accounts of summary executions to suppress the pro-democracy movement.

"I saw people who were beheaded with machine-gun fire from helicopters," and a man tortured to death when security forces "poured acid on to his body," said one who gave his name as Mohamed. He is among some 9,600 people who are seeking shelter in Turkish refugee camps.

He fled with his family as the military besieged Jisr al-Shughour, a rebellious town the government recaptured last Sunday. He said a sugar factory in the city was turned into a jail where they "hold quick trials and execute anyone who they believe participated in protests".

The Syrian government claims armed gangs and foreign conspirators are behind the unrest. Syria's state-run TV said on Friday a policeman was killed and more than 20 were wounded when "armed groups" opened fire at them. It added that six police officers were wounded in Deir el-Zour when gunmen attacked a police station in the area.

But the Local Coordination Committees, a group that documents the protests, and Syria-based rights activist Mustafa Osso said eight people were killed, all of them civilians, citing witnesses on the ground.

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From Belfast Telegraph