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SYRIA: Activists report security forces kill three women in Baniyas

May 7, 2011 |  8:14 am


Syrian security forces shot and killed three women demonstrating on a road outside the coastal city of Baniyas on Saturday, a human rights activist told AFP and Reuters.

The women were among a group of about 150 who had gathered on the highway between Baniyas and Latakia to demand the release of others who had recently been arrested in their hometown of Marqab, the activist said.

"Members of the security forces asked them to leave and, when they refused to do so, they opened fire killing three of them and wounding five others who were hospitalized," the activist told AFP.

The deaths could not be independently verified.

Syrian military officials confirmed to Al Jazeera satellite network that they had conducted an operation in Baniyas on Saturday.

"Army units and security forces today pursued members of terrorist groups in and around Baniyas and neighborhoods of Dara to restore security and stability," the military official said.

"They arrested people and seized a quantity of weapons that these groups have used to attack the army and citizens and scare people."

Hundreds of security forces entered Dara late Saturday in at least 30 buses, according to two Syrian opposition websites. 

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske in Cairo

Photo: Syrian protesters shouted anti-government slogans as they gathered in the coastal town of Baniyas on Friday. Syrian security forces opened fire on protesters Saturday, killing at least three women, activists said. Credit: Associated Press.