Syrian tanks have begun to withdraw from the eastern city of Deir al-Zor after a military crackdown on what the government calls “terrorist gangs”.
Despite a show of support from locals protesters claim scores have been killed since Wednesday when the army seized the city after intensive shelling.
During five months of unrest President al Assad has broadened his military assault against main urban centres of protest.
A forth day of tank fire on the port of Latakia has been described as a “crime against humanity” as thousands of Palestinians have been forced to flee from their refugee camp near the city.
With rights groups claiming over 1700 dead since the protests erupted in March, neighbouring Turkey is leading the calls for the killing to stop.