Syria pounds protest city hours before Kofi Annan visit

By Agence France-Presse
Saturday, March 10, 2012 8:12 EDT
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Syrian troops heavily shelled the northwestern protest city of Idlib early Saturday, in an apparent prelude to a ground assault just hours before the scheduled arrival of international peace envoy Kofi Annan, a watchdog and an activist said.

“It’s the heaviest bombardment since troop reinforcements were sent to Idlib earlier this week,” the head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel Rahman, told AFP.

“It’s the prelude to the launch of a ground offensive” in Idlib, whose province of the same name borders Turkey and where the rebel Free Syrian Army is entrenched.

Local activist Milad Fadl said: “The bombardment began at 5 am (0300 GMT). The shelling is very, very heavy.

“There are already three buildings that have collapsed in Thalathin Street in the west of the city,” added Fadl, a member of the opposition Syrian Revolution General Commission.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
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