Syrian troops have stormed parts of Syria's eastern city of Deir el-Zour, continuing a violent crackdown on activists demonstrating against the government of President Bashar al-Assad despite a fresh plea from the United Nations.
A human rights activist in Deir el-Zour said explosions could be heard in the area on August 7 after military forces launched predawn raids into the city from four sides, taking control of eight neighborhoods.
Meanwhile, Syrian forces reportedly were tightening their siege on the city of Hama, a hotbed of dissent in the nearly five-month-old uprising against Assad's regime.
The raids were launched despite a demand during the weekend by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that Assad stop deploying military troops against civilians in Syria.
In a statement, Ban expressed his "strong concern and that of the international community at the mounting violence and death toll in Syria over the past days."
UN officials have said that Ban has been trying for months to speak with Assad but that the Syrian president has refused to take his calls.
compiled from agency reports