28/07/2011 - Syrian forces pursued a deadly crackdown on anti-regime dissents Wednesday, killing 11 people in a "vengeance" raid near Damascus and arresting hundreds outside the capital, activists said.
The latest violence came as about 200 Syrian youth activists opened a four-day meeting in Istanbul to discuss ways of improving coordination among groups seeking to topple President Bashar al-Assad.
The raid targeted Kanaker, a town of 250,000 people west of Damascus, Ammar Qorabi, head of the National Organization for Human Rights, told AFP in Nicosia.
"The security forces entered homes at dawn on Wednesday and during the operation 11 people were shot dead and more than 250 arrested," said Qorabi, providing AFP with the names of the victims.
"A bulldozer and army tanks" backed the operations, while 11 vehicles were used to whisk away those arrested, who are between 15 and 40 years old, he said, adding that electricity, water and Internet connections were cut.
Qorabi said the raid was an "act of vengeance" because Kanaker residents had provided supplies to the southern town of Daraa, the epicentre of more than four months of anti-regime protests.
In a statement emailed to AFP, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Daraa has been under curfew since Saturday. The group provided the names of eight people it said were killed in the crackdown in Kanaker.
It said troops and security forces stormed Kanaker at dawn under heavy gunfire.
"Residents of Kanaker threw stones at the tanks" and set tires ablaze to block their approach.
According to the Syrian Observatory, 18 tanks were positioned at the entrances of Kanaker, but four had to withdraw under a barrage of stones from residents.
At least 1,486 civilians have been killed in the crackdown on the uprising that started in mid-March, while thousands have been arrested and thousands more fled the country, human-rights groups say.
Some groups say at least 12,000 people have been detained since the anti-regime protests erupted.