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Report: Military controls Jisr al-Shugur

June 13, 2011 at 11:48 AM   |   Comments

JISR AL-SHUGUR, Syria, June 13 (UPI) -- The Syrian military now controls Jisr al-Shugur after entering the northwestern city during the weekend, human rights activists said.

The Local Coordination Committees of Syria reported no new explosions, casualties or detentions in Jisr al-Shugur since Sunday, although the organization said Syrian soldiers were conducting house-to-house searches, CNN reported.

At least three people were killed in fighting Sunday, including one Syrian soldier, Syrian-run media reported. The state-run SANA said two gunmen were killed and "many others" were arrested.

Military units entered Jisr al-Shugur to "cleanse the national hospital from the elements of the armed gangs after disabling the explosives and the various TNT devices that these gangs planted on the bridges and roads," state media said.

Government reports were at odds with reports from residents, who said there were no armed gangs in Jisr al-Shugur, CNN said.

President Bashar Assad's regime consistently blamed violent gangs for the unrest and violence sweeping Syria. But activists and protesters seeking Assad's ouster say security forces have caused the violence.

CNN said it couldn't independently verify accounts of the unrest in Syria because the government hasn't granted the broadcaster access to the country.

In a statement released Sunday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned Syria's use of force against civilians and expressed concern about violence in Jisr al-Shugur.

"The Syrian authorities have an obligation to protect their people and respect their rights. The use of military force against civilians is unacceptable," Ban said.

In London, British Foreign Secretary William Hague called on the U.N. Security Council to call on the Syrian government to "respond to legitimate grievances, to release prisoners of conscience, to open up access to the Internet and to cooperate with the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights."

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