World Bulletin/News Desk
Syrian government forces pushed their way into Douma on Saturday after weeks of siege and shelling and fleeing residents spoke of corpses in the streets of the town near the capital Damascus.
The residents said hundreds of people were fleeing the town as government forces swept the streets in search of rebels trying to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.
They reported many bodies buried under the rubble of houses in the town of half a million, 15 km (10 miles) from Damascus.
It was not possible to immediately verify the reports on the day world powers met in Geneva to try and find a way to resolve the increasingly bloody conflict in Syria.
Abdullah, 50, said he and his five children left Douma on Saturday morning.
"I saw at least three bodies on a street corner, some houses were destroyed, others were on fire. Only a few people remained inside the city. Those who can, leave," he said by telephone from a nearby town.
"I saw a body on the side of the street and dogs were gathering around it, it was really horrible... we are all living as refugees inside our country," he added.
Abdullah left in a convoy of 200 people from his neighbourhood. He said eight people were packed into each car. They passed through four checkpoints where soldiers in "full gear" eyed their identity cards before allowing them through.
Syrian forces have used similar tactics countrywide, activists say, of long sieges and shelling before raids.
A 16-month uprising against Assad has morphed into a fight between rebels and the government which labels armed and unarmed dissidents as "terrorists."
Other residents reported hundreds of people fleeing Douma.
Call for Red Cross help
Abo Omar, another resident, said rebels withdrew from Douma on Friday night after an intensive 10-day government offensive.
"How can the rebels continue fighting with limited guns, facing tanks and helicopters? Now Assad's army is in control of the town," he said, adding that hundreds had been arrested.
"We are calling on the Red Cross and the (Syrian) Red Crescent to go inside the town and remove the bodies. Some of the bodies have started to decay," said Abo Omar.
He said many of the dead were buried under the rubble of houses.
Mohammed Doumany, an opposition activist who also left the town said: "There is no electricity or water, no communication. The situation was really horrible."
"Security forces are going into hospitals and we fear for the lives of the wounded," he added.
Syrian forces also on Saturday fired mortar bombs at major cities, activists said.
Live stream video footage posted by opposition activists in the eastern desert city of Deir al-Zor showed smoke rising from apartment blocks as continuous explosions rang out.
Activists also reported shelling in Homs, Idlib and Deraa.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that government shelling and heavy clashes between the army and members of the rebel Free Syrian Army have killed 16 people so far on Saturday.
Opposition activists accuse the international community of inaction. Diplomacy has failed to produce an agreement between Western powers, who favour the opposition, and Russia, which has used its veto power at the United Nations Security Council to block Western and Arab moves to drive Assad from power.
Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita said wreckage of the flight had been spotted in his country's far north, toward the Algerian border between the towns of Aguelhoc and Kidal.
Spanish judicial authorities have sought the arrest and questioning of three U.S. soldiers accused of involvement in Spanish cameraman Jose Couso's death
The head of the Dutch police mission in Ukraine said it was difficult to get access to the site to look for more of the remains of the victims, many of whom were Dutch.
Udaltsov, who has been under house arrest since February 2013, and Razvozhayev were accused of coordinating the protests which turned violent on May 6, 2012
The U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution 10 days ago that authorized aid access at four border crossings from Turkey, Iraq and Jordan
More than 50 people have died so far in the violence that has deepened fears post-war Libya is slipping into lawlessness
Russia has in the past denied it is directly involved with the rebellion in its western neighbor, but the United States and its European allies accuse Moscow of arming and encouraging the uprising
"Gaps remain between the parties, so his focus is on finding a formula that both sides can accept," said the U.S. official
Since July 7, Israel has pummeled the Gaza Strip – from air, land and sea – with the ostensible aim of halting Palestinian rocket fire.
Pools of blood lay on the ground and on students' desks in the courtyard of the school near the apparent impact mark of the shell,
More than 75,000 made the trip in the first six months of the year, landing up in Italy, Greece, Spain and Malta, the UNHCR agency said. Their number included 10,500 children
The commander of U.S. troops stationed in South Korea last month said he had proposed deploying a THAAD advanced missile-defence system to the country
Politicians and activists have complained that while Ukraine has a new president, it has yet to elect a new parliament since the toppling of pro-Russian leader Viktor Yanukovich
Female asylum seekers with infants recently asked for bigger rooms so their children can learn to walk and crawl, as they are currently "confined in the extreme heat" in metal containers measuring 3m by 3m.
Shortly before the trial, Evans made a deal with prosecutors and admitted he had carried out more than 1,000 hacks involving some 200 victims
Ban's meeting with Shi'ite Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani underscored the 83-year-old cleric's vast sway in Iraq, where Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is considered a polarising figure