At least 40 people have been killed in violence in Syria, rights groups and activists say, as pro- and anti-government forces reportedly clashed in Deraa province and elsewhere, with protests against Bashar al-Assad’s government continuing.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Monday that security forces shot dead at least 16 civilians across the province of Deraa, where protests against Assad first began in earnest.
However, local activists in Deraa told the Reuters news agency that the death toll from clashes between forces loyal to Assad, the Syrian president, and those who have joined protesters against his rule could be as high as 40.
They said that troops killed 20 people including army defectors and civilians in an assault on Khirbet Ghazaleh, a town near the Jordanian border and in the fighting that ensued near the town. They said a similar number of government troops were killed.