Hundreds flee Syrian city after reported massacre
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Hundreds flee Syrian city after reported massacre

Carnage, raids by Assad troops in Sunni neighborhood in Banias prompt families to leave Alawite area

Syrian army soldiers, seen in the background, standing in front of dead bodies at Bayda village, in the mountains outside the coastal city of Banias, Syria, in May (photo credit: AP/The Syrian Revolution against Bashar Assad)
Syrian army soldiers, seen in the background, standing in front of dead bodies at Bayda village, in the mountains outside the coastal city of Banias, Syria, in May (photo credit: AP/The Syrian Revolution against Bashar Assad)

BEIRUT (AP) — Activists say thousands of Sunni Muslims are fleeing a city on Syria’s Mediterranean coast following the alleged mass killing of Sunni villagers by regime troops and pro-government militiamen.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says around 4,000 Sunnis were leaving the city of Banias early Saturday.

The exodus comes two days after government forces and gunmen from President Bashar Assad’s Alawite sect allegedly killed more than 50 people in the Sunni village of Bayda outside of Banias.

Observatory directory Rami Abdul-Rahman says that carnage, coupled with house-to-house raids overnight in a Sunni neighborhood in Banias, prompted many Sunni families to flee the area.

Syria’s mountainous coastal region is the Alawite heartland, although it is also dotted with Sunni villages.

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