Syrian tanks move into Baniyas to quell protests
The population creates human cordons to stop the army. There are fears of a siege, killings and arrests. Yesterday at least 21 people were killed in Homs and Hama. The concerns of Christians.

Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Syrian army troops and tanks this morning entered some parts of the coastal city of Banias in the north-west of the country, one of the cities were protests against the Assad regime have broken out in recent weeks.

Militants and activists argue that the communications and electricity were cut. There is no independent confirmation of the news or further reports. The militants say the tanks are heading towards the south of the city, the centre of protests. The crowd has formed human cordons to prevent the tanks advance into the area.

Since mid-March, there have been demonstrations demanding greater democracy and an end to the Assad dictatorship in power from the 70s in several Syrian cities. The government has promised to meet the demands of the activists, but has also unleashed a wave of arrests and violent clashes against the demonstrators. It is estimated that so far the police have killed at least 500 and arrested 2 thousand others. Yesterday, Friday, in a new "day of rage," another 21 people were killed in several cities, including Homs and Hama.

Campaigners fear what happened in Deraa could be repeated in Banyias. Deraa the city that gave birth to the protest movement suffered siege, arrests and killings from April 25 until May 5.

Christians in Syria are looking with concern developments in the situation. In recent days, the Patriarch of Antioch, Gregory III Laham told AsiaNews that the protesters "are young people frustrated, but many say that among them are criminals and even fundamentalist Muslims who cry for jihad. For this we fear that giving way to violence will lead only to chaos "(see Syria: Melkite Patriarch on fears of a future of chaos and fundamentalism).