Khaled Yacoub Oweis
May 12, 2011

Syrian tanks shelled residential areas in two towns and at least 19 people were killed across the country, rights campaigners said, as President Bashar al-Assad’s forces fought to crush a seven-week uprising.

Assad, fighting the most serious challenge to his 11-year rule, has sent troops and tanks into several cities in the last two weeks to try and end protests inspired by Arab revolts which toppled leaders in Egypt and Tunisia.

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Wednesday was one of the bloodiest days apart from the main Friday protest days, when thousands use the platform of weekly Muslim prayers to demonstrate. Most of the violence occurred in the southern Deraa province, where unrest erupted on March 18.

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