Several killed in yesterday’s violence: reports

Eleven people were killed in violence yesterday in the towns of Rastan and Talbisa, news agencies reported.

Tanks and troops encircled the town of Rastan 25km north of Homs early yesterday morning and over 100 people were said to be wounded in the town of 60,000, according to Reuters.

The official state news agency, SANA, said four members of the security forces were killed in Talbiseh “while chasing armed terrorist groups... to detain them and present them to justice.”

A lawyer in the town told Reuters that electricity, phone lines and water supplies had been cut before the operation began.

Syria ‘to end nuclear secrecy’

Confidential reports seen by the AP news agency suggest Syria is pledging full co-operation with UN probes into Syria’s alleged nuclear arms program.

If true, the move would signal a u-turn in Damascus’s policy towards the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has been seeking since 2008 to follow up on allegations made by Israel that the Al-Kibar facility in Deir ez-Zor, bombed by Israeli jets in 2007, was a weapons lab. There is no way to verify these allegations.

A report released by the IAEA last week said the agency “assesses that the building destroyed ... was a nuclear reactor”, which means the IAEA board may report Syria to the UN Security Council at a meeting next month for violating the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Syria has consistently denied the facility was a nuclear site.

Syria preparing for tourist season: SANA

A director of the Ministry of Tourism Bassam Barsique told SANA that his ministry is working on expanding the sector this summer, despite a huge drop in foreign tourism due to the unrest.

“The ministry is currently working on granting citizens free entry to open areas”, the state news agency reported, referring to a plan to open picnic areas and allow private investors to open restaurants and entertainment venues.

Domestic tourism makes up 22 percent of the total which, he said, was unaffected by the crisis, and an important area for the ministry “mainly in the eastern and southern area.”

Syria Today (Syria)