State TV: 40 police killed in northwest Syria
DAMASCUS - Forty policemen were killed in the northwest town of Jisrash Shugur where security forces have been carrying out operations for three days, Syrian state television said on Monday.
Earlier, the state broadcaster reported that 20 officers had died in an ambush in Jisrash Shugur, and that eight guards at a post office were also killed when the building was blown up.
Two activists who spoke to AFP in Nicosia disputed the official version of events, saying the town was calm on Monday.
They spoke of a mutiny at a local security headquarters, where shooting was heard on Sunday.
"I think they executed policemen who refused to open fire on demonstrators. There was a mutiny in the security service," one activist said.
The other said that "shooting followed by an explosion was heard in the military HQ, apparently after a mutiny."
He said regime "snipers" had opened fire on protesters in the town, killing two. Demonstrators then gathered outside the headquarters and "shots and an explosion took place inside" the building, he said.
The state television report said: "The police and security agents are confronting hundreds of armed men. They have managed to liberate one district controlled by gunmen" in Jisrash Shugur.
It said residents of the town, 330 kilometres (200 miles) north of Damascus, had "pleaded for help and the rapid intervention of the army."