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Syrian security forces surround central town
Syrian forces moving against protesters surround central town, sending people fleeing
By The Associated Press

BEIRUT (AP) ' Activists say Syrian security forces have surrounded a town in central Syria that has become a hotbed of dissent against President Bashar Assad's regime.

The activists report heavy machine gun fire by the security forces and the army at the southern entrance of the town of Rastan.

The Local Coordination Committees activist network says the heavy deployment around Rastan early Monday sent residents fleeing out of fear the town would be stormed.

Rastan has been the site of intense anti-regime protests.

The operations there are part of the regime's deadly crackdown on anti-government protests that began in March. Human rights groups say more than 2,000 people have been killed since then.

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