Syria unrest: ‘Deadly military attack’
Syrian warships joined a military assault on protesters in the northern port city of Latakia, activists said.
At least 19 people have been killed in the operation, according to activists and human rights groups.
Explosions and gunfire have been reported in several districts of the city which have seen large protests against the Syrian government.
More than 1 700 people have reportedly died in the six-month uprising against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.
The operation began on Saturday with armoured vehicles and troops moving in.
Some 20 tanks and personnel carriers were said to be taking part in the Latakia assault along with at least two gunboats.
One witness told Reuters news agency by telephone: “I can see the silhouettes of two grey [naval] vessels. They are firing their guns and the impact is landing on al-Ramleh, al-Filistini and al-Shaab neighbourhoods.”
A report on state television denied there had been any naval shelling.
Activists said at least two people were killed and 15 wounded in Saturday’s attacks.
They said a large number of residents had fled the city and that telephones and internet connections had been cut off.
International journalists face severe restrictions in operating in Syria, and it is hard to verify reports.
Thousands of people were said to have come on to the streets of Latakia on Friday to demonstrate against the government.
Amateur video footage posted on the Internet also showed what appeared to be armoured personnel in the streets.
Latakia has seen many anti-government protests in the past six months. (BBC)