Syrian naval vessels, ground troops attack port of Latakia

Monday, August 15, 2011

At least nineteen people have been killed in two days of attacks by the Syrian Navy and ground forces on the northern port city of Latakia, say human rights activists.

The crackdown in the city began on Saturday, a day after several thousand people staged protests against the government. An estimated twenty tanks and other armored vehicles, as well as at least two navy vessels, were reported to be firing on the city. A witness told Reuters that they can "see the silhouettes of two grey vessels. They are firing their guns and the impact is landing on al-Ramleh, al-Filistini and al-Shaab neighbourhoods."

According to state television, however, there has not been any weapons fire from navy ships, and the government has previously stated it is moving only against terrorists and others who are responsible for instigating dissent among Syrian citizens.

The total death toll is unclear, with at least two and as many as five people reported dead on Saturday and estimates of the death toll on Sunday ranging from at least nineteen, according to the BBC, to at least 25, according to Al Jazeera.