Syrian tanks were ready to roll into the outskirts of the town Jisr al-Shughour on Saturday in the latest offensive in the government’s effort to keep power, while some 5,000 people—including some 2,000 defectors from Syrian security forces—stood ready to defend the town. While most of the violence in Syria has been focused in Turkey border town of Idlib, where 19 people were killed Friday, Jisr al-Shughour has emerged as the latest battleground in the 12-week old Syrian uprising to oust President Bashar al-Assad. Some 4,000 people from Jisr al-Shughour have already fled into Turkey, and Syrian state media reported 120 members of the security forces had been killed by “armed gangs” in the area. Despite the reported arrests earlier this week of journalists, members of the media were allowed to accompany the Syrian troops into Jisr al-Shughour.
ARAB SPRING AP Photo