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Syrian tanks enter southern villages near Daraa | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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BEIRUT, (AP) – A Syrian activist says troops backed by tanks have entered several southern villages near the flashpoint city of Daraa.

The activist says heavy shooting was heard when the troops entered Inkhil, Dael, Jassem, Sanamein and Nawa after midnight Tuesday. It was not clear if there were casualties, he said.

He spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of government reprisals.

In recent weeks, army troops carried out an 11-day operation in Daraa that killed more than 80 people, residents and activists said.

President Bashar Assad has dispatched troops and tanks to crush a nationwide seven-week uprising that poses the most serious challenge to his family’s 40-year rule. More than 630 people have died during the uprising, rights groups say.