Syrian tanks, troops extend reach in border areas

Syrian tanks pushed on the way to more towns and villages near the Turkish and Iraqi borders on Tuesday, increasing the crackdown against a 12-week uprising to the north and east as more Syrians flee their homes.

Syrian President Bashar Assad appear to have abandoned all pretense of contribution reform, sending tanks, helicopter gunships and only his most loyal services into population centers to crush dissent.

Anti-government activists report tanks in the northern market township of Maaret al-Numan and in lesser villages near Jisr al-Shughour, a town stormed Sunday by Syrian elite services backed by helicopters. Human rights protester Mustafa Osso said tanks were also moving in the huge eastern province of Deir el-Zour, which borders Iraq. The Syrian government claim to have thwarted cross-border guns smuggling in that area.

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