13 Jun 2011

Syrian troops in control of northern town

10:00 pm on 13 June 2011

The Syrian army has taken control of the northern town of Jisr al-Shughour following what state media describe as heavy fighting.

Troops began a bombardment early on Sunday, then began to move in from the east and south in a two-pronged attack. Helicopter gunships were seen hovering overhead. Sources said three people died.

The government said it was trying to restore order after 120 security personnel were killed last week.

Residents said the troops died died after a mutiny and fighting between security forces.

US officials say the crackdown has created a humanitarian crisis.

Protests against President Bashar al-Assad, who succeeded his father Hafez in 2000, began in mid-March and have spread across the country.

Rights groups say more than 1200 people have been killed since then.