Last updated: 25 October, 2011

7 security agents dead in Syria convoy attack

Seven security agents were killed in an attack on their convoy in northwest Syria on Tuesday, apparently carried out by army deserters, a rights group said, while three civilians reportedly died in the protest-swept country.

“Armed men, suspected deserters, attacked a security forces convoy at the entrance to Maaret al-Noman town in Idlib province, killing seven agents, including an officer,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

It said in a statement that several others were wounded in the attack.

The vehicle consisted of “40 vehicles — buses, 4×4 cars and and vehicles of the anti-terrorism services,” the Britain-based watchdog added.

“Ambulances rushed to the scene of the attack which was completely sealed of,” it said.

The attack took place at 1:00 pm (1100 GMT) and gunfire could still be heard in the early afternoon, the watchdog said.

It also reported a second attack in Idlib and a third one in the protest hub province of Homs, in central Syria, where an unspecified number of soldiers were killed and wounded.

Meanwhile three civilians were killed in the city of Homs, including a man who died from gunfire by security forces and a muezzin who was found dead several hours after being abducted by pro-regime “shabiha” militiamen, the Observatory said.

According to UN estimates more than 3,000 people have been killed in the crackdown against dissent since protests erupted in Syria in mid-March.