Activists said Free Syrian Army fighters withdrew from Deir ez-Zor in eastern Syria Tuesday (March 20th) after Syrian government forces conducted a two-day armoured vehicle campaign to regain control over the town, al-Jazeera television reported.
The Revolution Committees Union in Deir ez-Zor said tanks entered residential districts, particularly the south-eastern areas of Deir ez-Zor, and that the Free Syrian Army withdrew to avoid a massacre involving civilians.
The Syrian Revolution General Commission said 17 people were killed and others were wounded when the army and security forces shelled cities and villages. The group reported 11 killed in Homs and three killed in Rif Dimashq when security forces opened fire on residences. Two people were killed when army and security forces stormed Quria in Deir ez-Zour, and one person was killed in Hama, the commission said.
Meanwhile, a father, mother and four-year girl were among those killed during a bombardment on Rastan in Homs, the commission reported, adding that shelling continued in Khalidiya, Bayadhiya and Baba al-Sebae districts.