Syrian state media today reported at least 120 troops were killed by “armed gangs” in the area around the town of Jisr al-Shugur, the site of yesterday’s major protests and violent crackdown. The toll was impossible to verify.
Syria’s state TV said 82 were killed in the city itself as a result of an ambush, and that government buildings across the area had been attacked, many of them being set on fire. The toll has continued to rise throughout the morning, with reporters initially saying 20, then 40, then 80 were killed before settling on 120.
Residents of Jisr al-Shugur described the situation as relative calm, saying that a handful of protesters had attacked police with hunting rifles yesterday, and that there were an unknown number of deaths, but that the situation had quieted down.
Syria’s Interior Minister Ibrahim Shaar promised a “decisive” response to the deaths. Government officials have repeated termed the protesters “armed terrorists” and the like, and today’s massive putative death toll fits neatly into this narrative.