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Syria strives for order

Syrian security forces strove to restore order in the city of Latakia on Sunday, after two days of chaos that left 15 dead and more than 150 injured.

world Updated: Mar 28, 2011 23:51 IST

Syrian security forces strove to restore order in the city of Latakia on Sunday, after two days of chaos that left 15 dead and more than 150 injured.

Troops have deployed in force in Latakia, a port city, in response to the wave of unrest that has put President Bashar al-Assad under unprecedented pressure.

The authorities have accused fundamentalists of seeking to incite sectarian strife in the city.

Thirteen people have been officially confirmed killed by gunfire involving snipers since Friday. Two of the victims were buried on Sunday.

Officials have said more than 30 people have been confirmed killed in the violence, since a wave of unrest began earlier this month amid calls for major reforms in the country, ruled by the Baath party since 1963.

But activists say more than 126 people have died, with upwards of 100 killed on Wednesday alone in a crackdown on protests in Daraa.

Residents also told AFP of gangs of looters armed with sticks and knives, a drive-by shooting at the state-run hospital early Sunday and thugs beating up people in the street.

Meanwhile, authorities announced a string of reforms in a bid to reach out to protesters.