Latakia, Syria - Reuters - August 14, 2011
Smoke rises in the city of Latakia, August 14, 2011. Photo by Reuters
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The Syrian Interior Ministry announced that its units began to quit the port city of Latakia after putting an end to what it described as armed terrorist groups, the state-run Syrian news Agency SANA reported Wednesday.

Brigadier General Mohammad Hassan al-Ali said the army units began moving out of al-Ramel in Latakia after completing "its mission," adding that "the neighborhood is recovering and citizens are practising their normal life that was spoiled by the acts of the
terrorist groups."

The Syrian television reported Wednesday that the law-enforcement forces are continuing to remove barriers and roadblocks set up by the armed terrorist groups" along the crossroads and alleys of al-Ramel.

At least 34 people have been killed in Latakia since Saturday, when the Syrian government began a crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in the city.

A Palestinian refugee camp in al-Ramel also came under fire of  security forces, prompting almost half the residents of the camp to flee.

The Syrian television report said forces had arrested a number of gunmen and dismantled bombs and mines allegedly planted by these groups in the streets of al-Ramel.

Human rights advocates say that at least 1,790 civilians and 410 security personnel have been killed since mid-March, when demonstrations for the ouster of President Bashar Assad began.

These reports cannot be independently verified, as the Syrian authorities have barred most foreign media and international human rights groups from the country.