Syria: 23 soldiers killed in fighting as new EU sanctions declared

Published May 14th, 2012 - 11:56 GMT

At least 23 Syrian soldiers were killed Monday in heavy fighting with as the Europeans imposed a new set of sanctions against the regime of Bashar al Assad.

These heavy battles have occurred at Rastane, in the province of Homs, a city beyond the control of the regime for months. Dozens more were injured and three tanks destroyed in the crossfire, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).

On Sunday evening, the army launched a sudden assault on Rastane amid intensive shelling, with "up to four rocket attacks per minute." A child was killed by a rocket that hit his house and dozens of other civilians were injured.

Elsewhere in the country, in Deir Ezzor, a teenager was shot dead by government forces who also arrested 15 people, according to SOHR. There are reports about an assault on the Qaboun neighborhood in Damascus.

While Syria is sinking into chaos, with some 45 dead Sunday, the sectarian strife between Sunni and Alawite felt in neighboring Lebanon.

Since Saturday night, four Lebanese were killed in the violence in Tripoli, the main northern city of this country.

The exchange of fire, including rocket launching, prevented Monday the Lebanese army to deploy in neighborhoods suffering from these disorders in Tripoli.

Meanwhile, in Brussels, the foreign ministers of the EU agreed Monday to their 15th set of sanctions against Damascus. They froze the assets of two companies and three individuals seen as sources of financing the regime.

Now, 126 people and 41 companies are affected by the EU sanctions. 

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