Syrian State Media Reports Scores Of Police Dead As Syrian forces continue attacks on protesters in a northwestern town, state TV reports scores of Syrian policemen were ambushed and killed. Damascus has frequently portrayed the uprising against President Bashar Assad as a conspiracy by Islamist militants backed by foreign powers.

Syrian State Media Reports Scores Of Police Dead

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.


NPR's Deborah Amos is monitoring events in Syria from Beirut. She has this report.

DEBORAH AMOS: Syrian state television described a heated battle in the northern town of Jisr al-Shughour, near the Turkish border. Gangs armed with machine guns attacked security forces and set fire to government buildings, according to Syrian state TV. In the broadcast, a frantic resident called the evening news program to ask the government to save the town.

U: (Foreign language spoken)

AMOS: The competing descriptions are impossible to verify. The Syrian government shut down the Internet over the weekend, which blocked most communications. But a government report of so many deaths among security police may be a turning point after three months of protests, says Turkish political analyst Soli Ozel.

NORRIS: And the more people die, the more difficult it becomes for the regime to open up because then resentments, build hatreds, build...

AMOS: Especially after the high death toll this weekend and the failure of the protest movement to reach two key Syrian cities, says Ozel.

NORRIS: So long as the two largest cities in the country, that is Aleppo and Damascus, don't turn against the regime, the regime feels confident that it can actually take care of this with enough brutality.

AMOS: Deborah Amos, NPR News, Beirut.

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