Syria Army Kills 144 as 54 Soldiers Also Die, Group Says

Syrian security forces killed 144 people yesterday, a rights group said, making it one of the bloodiest days in recent weeks in President Bashar al-Assad’s crackdown on opposition groups.

More than 30 of the deaths came in the central region of Homs, and another 29 in Daraa in the south, the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in an e-mailed statement today. It said at least 54 soldiers also died.

The Observatory said that Syrian forces shelled towns in the northern Idlib region today, while protests were held in Aleppo, the second-biggest city, which is near the Turkish border. Homs also came under heavy artillery fire again, Al Arabiya television reported.

Syrian opponents of Assad began protests against his rule in March last year, and are increasingly taking up arms against his security forces after 15 months of repression that has left more than 10,000 people dead, according to United Nations estimates.

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