More towns surrounded, arrests made


Syrian troops and police have stormed three suburbs of Damascus making scores of arrests, according to a number of independent news agencies. The suburbs of Saqba, Douma and Erbin have all been targets of raids and arrests this week.

Further uprisings and troop movements have occurred around Tel, north of Damascus and Rastan near Homs. A cordon and roadblocks have been set up around the coastal city of Baniyas.

Military authorities say that they have completed their operations in Daraa in the south, although the city is still cut off from vital services and supplies.

Around 600 people are said to have died in the protests so far and possibly as many as 8,000 arrests have been made.

The people’s uprising has also had an effect on the economy. The IMF has said that it is revising downward its growth rate forecast from 5.5% to 3%.

The local currency has dropped 10% on the black market and the Damascus Stock Exchange has fallen 20% since the start of the uprising.

The government were taking emergency measures yesterday to prevent the flight of foreign currency from the country and to try and stabilise savings and curb withdrawals from banks.

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