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Activists: Syrian Forces Wound 6 in Village Raids

Demonstrators march through the streets after Friday prayers at Hajar Al Aswad in Damascus. Defying weeks of military crackdown, demonstrations broke out in Damascus suburbs, near the Lebanese border, July 1, 2011

Syrian activists say government troops have shot and wounded at least six people in raids on several villages in the country's northwest in the latest crackdown on an opposition uprising.

The activists say the Syrian troops carried out operations in Kfar Roumah and other villages in Idlib province Monday.

Elsewhere, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says soldiers arrested more than 20 people in raids on homes in the central city of Hama, another center of opposition to Syrian President Bashar Assad's 11-year autocratic rule. The Observatory says residents burned tires and placed rocks on streets to block troop movements.

Hundreds of thousands of people joined an anti-Assad rally in Hama on Friday in one of Syria's biggest demonstrations since the uprising began in March. Mr. Assad dismissed the governor of Hama province the next day.

Activists and residents said security forces shot dead two anti-government protesters Sunday night in a suburb of the capital, Damascus. They said the shootings happened in Hajar Aswad, where anti-Assad protests have been common.

The United States and European Union have imposed a series of sanctions on President Assad and his aides to pressure him into stopping the violent suppression of the pro-democracy movement.

Switzerland said Sunday it has taken a similar step, blocking $32 million in assets linked to senior Syrian government figures.

Rights groups say at least 1,300 civilians have been killed by Syrian security forces since mid-March. The Syrian government says terrorists and Islamist militants have killed hundreds of security personnel in the same period.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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