(Reuters) - Syrian forces killed at least 19 people in raids near the Lebanon border and in the country's Sunni tribal heartland, activists said, pursuing a military campaign to crush street protests against President Bashar al-Assad.
Assad's forces have intensified assaults on towns and cities across the country since the start of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan to subdue mounting dissent against the ruling family, despite threats of new U.S. sanctions and calls from Turkey, Syria's powerful northern neighbour, and Arab nations, to halt the attacks.
"Assad remains convinced that the military solution is working, ignoring the fact that as soon as he contains demonstrations in one town they erupt in another," a Western diplomat in the Syrian capital said.
"At one point he may not have enough loyalist troops capable of exerting control over simultaneous centres of protests," he added. Assad belongs to Shia Islam's minority Alawite sect.
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