Syrian security forces are maintaining a heavy presence in the northwestern Idlib province after an offensive on army defectors killed about 250 people, including a large number of civilians, activists say.
The Syrian National Council, an umbrella group representing opponents of President Bashar al-Assad's government, on Wednesday called for "immediate action" by the Arab League and the UN Security Council to condemn and halt what it called "horrific massacres" conducted by Syrian forces in Idlib and other areas.
Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr, reporting from the Turkish city of Antakya, along the border with Syria, said the Syrian military's operations had been focused on Idlib because it was attempting to regain control over what had become a stronghold for army defectors.
"It is clear that army defectors have taken control over some towns and villages, almost as though they have created some sort of safe area, where protesters from other regions were seeking a safe haven and where defectors were able to operate from," she said.
She also noted that Idlib was a "strategic area" because it was located near Turkey, which has become a serious critic of the Syrian government and a supporter of the opposition movement.
"If defectors really take over the province, it would ... >>>
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