Syria Latest: Army 'Attacks Protest City Of Deraa With TANKS', 18 Killed

Syrian Army 'Attacks Protest City Of Deraa With TANKS', 18 Killed: The army of Syria has advanced into the southern city of Deraa, using tanks to support troops amid an intensified effort to curb popular protests. The death toll in the crackdown in Syria rose to at least 18, according to witnesses, the AP reports. Amateur footage posted online appeared to show bodies lying in the streets as protesters came under fire from the tanks' gunners and snipers on nearby roofs.

A prominent human rights campaigner said President Bashar al-Assad had launched a "savage war" on protesters. "There are still bodies sprawled in the streets," an activist told AFP, as loud explosions and shooting could be heard in the background.

Protester Majd Jadaan said government officials should have responded in a "humanitarian way," and that the use of force will doom the Baath Party's half-century reign. "There has been a wrongdoing for 50 years," Jadaan said. "It is time for us now to get our freedom back." A witness added, "The minarets of the mosques are appealing for help. The security forces are entering houses. There is a curfew and they fire on those who leave their homes. They even shot at water tanks on roofs to deprive people of water."

While on the other hand, the Foreign Office is strongly advising British nationals to leave Syria owing to the "rapid deterioration" in the situation there.

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