Conflict & Justice

Syrian navy bombs coastal city


Smoke rises over Latakia, Syria, which was pummeled by Syrian tanks and navy gunboats trying to crush protests.

“Syrian forces for the first time deployed naval power in an attempt to quell an anti-government uprising, pummeling a coastal city that one activist described as a fortress of support for the country's rulers until nationwide protests recently grew larger there,” writes Los Angeles Times.

“The use of gunboats and tanks in Latakia on Sunday is likely to antagonize Western powers and Syria's neighbors, who have been pressing for an end to the violence. Turkish diplomats said they extracted a promise from President Bashar Assad last week to curb the use of force.

Instead, the violence appears to have increased, especially in major cities — a possible sign that the country's rulers feel they have little time left to crush the rebellion before they face harsher punishment from the international community.

Witnesses and activists said fire from gunboats and tanks shook the southern parts of religiously mixed Latakia starting just before dawn. At least 25 people were killed and an estimated 100 wounded, said the activists, who added that the attacks appeared to be a response to large protests that broke out in the city Friday.”