Syrian army shells town, protesters gear for rally

AP , Friday 3 Jun 2011

Syrian troops shell Rastan killing two on Friday, bringing death toll to 74 in the besieged city as protesters prepare for 'Children's Friday'

An activist group says Syrian troops have pounded a central town with artillery and heavy machinegun fire, killing at least two people in the latest onslaught.

The Local Coordination Committees, which helps organize and document Syria's protests, says troops also opened fire on residents fleeing the bombing of Rastan. Friday's deaths bring the toll in Rastan and nearby Talbiseh to 74 killed since the attack started last Saturday.

The bombing comes as Syrians are expected to demonstrate across the country after Muslim Friday prayers. The opposition has called for nationwide rallies to commemorate the nearly 30 children killed by the regime in the uprising.

Rights group says more than 1,100 people have been killed since the revolt against President Bashar Assad erupted in mid-March.

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