Syria tightens its grip ahead of Friday prayers

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Hundreds of Syrian troops have stormed the Damascus suburb of Saqba over night, breaking into houses and making arrests. Witnesses believe army unity are extending the government's crackdown ahead of Friday prayers. Human rights groups say the army, security forces and gunmen loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have killed at least 560 demonstrating civilians since the protests erupted in Deraa in mid March. Hundreds of young men have been rounded up and arrested and tales of beatings and torture are widespread. The UN's chief Ban Ki-moon has urged the president to end the violence while France is calling for even greater sanctions.
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