Thursday Dec 15, 201101:54 PM GMT
Gunmen in Syria torch sites, steal arms
Sun Jul 17, 2011 9:48AM
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Syrian soldiers carry the coffin of a killed comrade outside a hospital in the western province of Tartous, July 15, 2011.
Armed groups have attacked a number of public buildings in eastern Syria, setting them on fire and looting weaponry from a government office.

Gunmen stormed government buildings in the city of Dayr al-Zawr on Saturday, torching a police station, the civil registry department and a courthouse, a Press TV correspondent reported.

According to the Syrian state news agency, the armed gangs stole weapons from the directorate building in the city, close to the Iraqi border.

The armed men, stationed on rooftops, injured several police officers, some of them seriously.

Syria has been experiencing unrest in the past few months, with demonstrations held both against and in support of President Bashar al-Assad's government.

Hundreds have been reported killed when some protest rallies turned into armed clashes between alleged protesters and state security forces as well as organized attacks by well-armed gangs against Syrian police force and border guards in the north of the country.

Syrian state TV has broadcast reports and images of seizing cache of weapons and confessions by elements detailing how they obtained arms from foreign sources.

Assad ordered a general amnesty in May for all political prisoners, with rights activists in Syria confirming the release of hundreds of detainees.

In June, he offered a national dialogue to end the unrest in the country, calling on authorities, intellectuals and political personalities to join a discussion of amendments to the country's constitution.

President Assad's orders for amnesties and reforms came following apparent efforts by foreign-backed armed gangs to incite unrest and terror in Syria by shooting at police as well as targeting protesters in scattered rallies around the country.

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