Several people were killed and hundreds more fled across the border into Lebanon, fleeing violence in Syria, in spite of promises from the government to stop firing on protesters.
Syria has been wracked with protests for two months
Syrian security forces killed at least three people on Saturday, May 14, according to witnesses from the town of Tall Kalakh, in Homs province near the border with Lebanon.
These deaths occurred despite a government no-shoot order and promises of dialogue from President Bashar al-Assad.
According to town councilor Mahmud Khazaal, more than 500 people fled across the border into Lebanon.
Khazaal said intermittent gunfire could be heard across the border in Syria, and that refugees fleeing the violence reported security forces were "shooting and besieging Tall Kalakh."
More than 500 people fled into Lebanon on Saturday
Fleeing residents reported seeing soldiers and gunmen loyal to Assad, and said they heard the sound of machine gun fire.
"The nonchalance by which the regime is killing civilians and peaceful protesters has driven some in Tall Kalakh to resist," said one of the rights campaigners.
Assad had announced a "national dialogue" on Friday, the same day security forces killed an additional six people.
The international community continued to condemn the violence against Syrian civilians.
"A regime which fires on its own people loses legitimacy," French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told the newspaper al-Hayat. "... Unless the regime changes its position, it should be punished."
Activists estimate that between 700 and 800 people have been killed in the past months' unrest in Syria.
Author: Stuart Tiffen (Reuters, AFP)
Editor: Toma Tasovac