Syrian authorities reportedly arrested hundreds of protesters and dissidents April 26 as the military surrounded Daraa, Duma, Homs and several other cities and villages. Telephone, electricity and water lines have been cut to the besieged cities and villages, which are mostly in the southwestern Hauran plateau region, rights activists say. Activists from the Syrian Revolution 2011 group posted reports on Facebook claiming tanks and snipers in Daraa are shooting “at anything that moves.” The Syrian government says the troops were ordered to Daraa to put down a conspiracy by Islamists.
The United States is considering further sanctions against the Damascus regime, while at the UN, France, Britain, Germany and Portugal are reported to be drafting a text condemning the killings in Syria. These countries also support UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s call for an independent investigation into the killings. (DPA, LAT, April 26)