Syrian forces launched what activists called one of its most violent assaults yet on a Damascus suburb Thursday, shelling residential areas with tanks. According to Mohammed Saeed, an activist based in the suburb, they used troops as human shields as they marched into the area’s main square. A British human rights group, one of the most trusted observers of the uprising, confirmed a major military action in Douma, though there were no reports of deaths. As the violence was reported, Syria claimed to withdraw troops as part of a U.N. peace plan championed by Kofi Annan, an assertion that could not be confirmed.
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