Syrian state television announced that 80 security men and police were killed "in an ambush by armed gangs" at dawn on Monday in the town of Jisr ash-Shughur in northwest Syria, where the military launched operations two days ago.
The TV report said "The number of martyrs killed by armed gangs in Jisr ash-Shughur amounts to 80," adding that "security reinforcements were heading to the site of the ambush." "The armed groups are committing a real massacre. They have mutilated bodies and thrown others into the Assi river," the state broadcaster said. "They have burned government buildings."
Over the past three months, the Syrian regime justified its harsh crackdown by saying the protesters were armed. This was denied by opposition sources. However, an opposition member who lives outside Syria told CNN the clashes over the past three days in Jisr Al-Shugur, Khan Shaykhun and surrounding villages were between members and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Syrian security forces.
He said that 90 security members and 23 opposition members were killed Monday. In addition, nine tanks were destroyed and two helicopters were downed, he said.
He said the weapons had been taken into the country from Turkey, whose border is about 20 kilometers away.