Babylon & Beyond

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SYRIA: Syrian tanks enter embattled cities, protesters say

May 7, 2011 |  6:07 am

Syrian army tanks entered the coastal city of Baniyas and the western city of Homs on Saturday, witnesses told the Al Jazeera satellite network.

A witness told the network that in Baniyas, shops closed and people hid in their homes as the tanks arrived.

"We are really scared that Baniyas will be a repeat of Dara," he said, referring to the besieged southern town where the protests began more than six weeks ago. He said residents worried they would be framed as "armed gangs" and attacked by secret police.

Early Saturday, communications to Baniyas were severed, including land lines, mobile networks and the Internet, activists told Al Jazeera.
Communication has been shut down to Homs since Friday night, after protesters took to the streets and confronted security forces, as seen in a video posted online. The video could not be verified.
-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske in Cairo

Video: Protesters in the western city of Homs clash with Syrian security forces Friday. Due to restrictions on foreign media entering the country, the video could not be verified. Credit: YouTube