WRAPUP 5-Syrian forces storm northern town, fight defectors-residents

Sun Aug 28, 2011 11:28pm GMT

* First army defections reported near capital

* Arab League urges end to bloodshed, sends envoy

* Turkish president says lost confidence in Syria (Adds killings in Albu Kamal, paragraphs 12-13)

By Khaled Yacoub Oweis

AMMAN, Aug 28 (Reuters) - Syrian forces stormed a town on the main road leading to Turkey on Sunday after troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad fought a night-time battle in Damascus with army defectors who had refused to shoot at a pro-democracy protest.

Six months into a popular uprising, Assad is under pressure from street protests and from Arab foreign ministers who told Syria on Sunday to work to end bloodshed "before it is too late".

The Arab League decided to send its secretary-general to Damascus to push for reforms , while the president of neighbouring Turkey said he had lost confidence in Syria .

Residents of Khan Sheikhoun, on the main road 245 km (155 miles) north of Damascus, said two people had been killed in an army assault on their town. Two local activists, Tareq al-Nisr and Musaab Taha, were wounded, another activist said.

"It was an assassination attempt. The security police and shabbiha (militiamen) are beginning to use targeted assassinations and arresting people in larger numbers," said the activist, who gave his name as Abu Wael.   Continued...

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