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      Syria: Deaths Continue, Opposition Warns of Impending Massacre

      At least 30 people die in protests across Syria, as opposition warns that Assad is planning a massacre in Homs.
      By Elad Benari, Canada
      First Publish: 12/9/2011, 10:12 PM

      Syrian President Bashar Assad
      Syrian President Bashar Assad
      Flash 90

      The violence in Syria continued on Friday, and at least 30 people were killed in renewed anti-government protests across the country.

      According to a report by the BBC, the Syrian Local Co-ordination Committees (LCC) put Friday’s death toll at 35.

      At least 11 of the deaths were in and around the city of Homs, according to another group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Two of those killed, the group said, were boys aged 10 and 12.

      A number of pro-government demonstrations have also been reported across the country, including in the capital Damascus, the BBC noted.

      One resident of Homs was quoted as having told The Associated Press, “The earth was shaking. Armored personnel carriers drove through the streets and opened fire randomly with heavy machine-guns.”

      The Observatory also said that four people had died in the nearby city of Hama, two in Deraa and two in the north-western province of Idlib.

      Meanwhile, CNN reported on Friday that Syria’s leading opposition movement has warned of an impending government “massacre” designed to crush activists in the city of Homs.

      According to the report, the Syrian National Council said military troops and vehicles have surrounded the western city and thousands of troops are manning more than 60 checkpoints just inside the city.

      “These are all signs of a security crackdown operation that may reach the level of a total invasion of the city,” the council was quoted as having said in a news release. It warned that a “massive number of casualties” could occur.

      “Evidence received from reports, videos and information obtained by activists on the ground in Homs indicate that the regime is paving the way to commit a massacre in order to extinguish the Revolution in Homs and to discipline, by example, other Syrian cities that have joined the Revolution,” the council’s statement said.

      The United Nations said last week that more than 4,000 people have died in Syria since the brutal government crackdown against protesters began in mid-March.

      Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, however, is denying that his forces have killed anyone.

      Assad told veteran journalist Barbara Walters in an exclusive ABC News interview that aired Wednesday, "We don't kill our people. No government in the world [would] kill its people unless it's led by a crazy person."

      Assad utterly denied any responsibility for the deaths thousands of Syrians who have allegedly been killed -- including many who reportedly were tortured in detention by government forces.

      The brutal government crackdown carried out against civilian protesters across the country, he said, has been carried out by "individuals" -- not his government.

      (Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)