Though the US State Department said it was unable to confirm the reports of attacks by naval ships on the city, the violent crackdown in the Syrian port of Latakia continues apace, with major human rights implications.
Yesterday’s reports had attacks from ground troops and tanks as well as shelling from the Syrian Navy, with at least 31 people killed and dozens of others wounded. The crackdowns today sent thousands scrambling from a Palestinian refugee camp in the city, and thousands of others were forced into a stadium.
According to residents of one of the key protest neighborhoods, troops ordered everyone to leave their homes and gather in the soccer stadium, telling themthat their homes would all be destroyed. Once they arrived in the stadium their IDs and cellphones were confiscated by the regime.
The crackdown has sparked international condemnation, including increasingly angry condemnations from neighboring Turkey, where Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu demanded an immediate end to all military operations against the protesters. Turkey has been reported to be mulling an invasion of northern Syria to carve out a corridor for the growing number of refugees flocking northward into Turkey.