Residents say at least three people have been killed and scores wounded as the crackdown on anti-government protesters continues in Syria. Troops have reportedly surrounded the villages of Rastan and Talbisseh near Homs, the country’s third largest city.
The military are now moving into several cities in central Syria to quell protests against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.
Human rights activists claim a thousand protesters have been killed and 10,000 arrested. The authorities say insurgents, armed groups and foreign agents are to blame, and say 120 police officers have died in the violence.
Eyewitness reports and government statements are difficult to verify independently because the government barred most international media from the country shortly after unrest broke out in March.