Syrian forces renew raids near Turkey, kill youth

Sep 5, 2011, 3:44 a.m.
EDITOR'S NOTE: FACES BLURRED AT SOURCE. People protest against President Bashar al-Assad on the first day of Eid Al-Fitr in the city of Suqba, Syria, August 30, 2011. REUTERS/Handout

AMMAN (Reuters) - Syrian forces killed at least one civilian on Monday in raids on villages near Turkey designed to stop civilians fleeing across the border to escape a military drive against pro-democracy protests, residents and local activists said.

Adelsalam Hassoun, 24, a blacksmith, was killed by army snipers just after he had crossed into Turkey from Ain al-Baida village on the Syrian side, his cousin told Reuters by phone from Syria.

"Abdelsalam was hit in the head. He was among a group of family members and other refugees who dashed across the plain to Turkey when six armored personnel carrier deployed outside Ain al-Baida and started firing their machineguns into the village at random this morning," Mohammad Hassoun said.

It was the first large scale military operation in the border region since June, when thousands of Syrian families fled their homes in the area to escape a major offensive against numerous towns and villages that had seen large scale protests against the 11 year rule of President Bashar al-Assad.

(Reporting by Khaled Yacoub Oweis, Amman newsroom; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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