At least 57 dead as Assad justifies crackdown
Syrian rights groups on Sunday government troops killed at least 57 people in assaults on two protest towns. According to them, at least 42 people were killed Sunday after Syrian forces launched a pre-dawn raid on the eastern town of Deir el-Zour. Another military assault on the central town of Houleh killed at least 15 people.
Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday said it was his country's duty to protect the security of its against "outlaws, the official news agency (SANA) reported. Assad affirmed during his meeting with Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour that "Dealing with the outlaws who block the roads and the cities and terrorize the people is the duty of the state."
Assad also stressed that "Syria continues in the path of reforms."