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Syria - Jun 19, 2011 - 13:42

Last modified: 19 Jun 2011 10:42

The Syrian army has cut off the border village of Bdama, closing down its only bakery and setting fire to the surrounding forests, residents who fled the village have told AFP.

Speaking the Turkish-Syrian border, witnesses told AFP that Bdama was now largely deserted.

Raka al-Abdu, a 23-year-old Syrian, said that he left the village on Saturday, but returned on Sunday morning to find bread. He said he used mountain routes that only locals would know, but that when he got to the village he found it virtually empty.

"They closed the only bakery there. We cannot get bread anymore. ... I saw soldiers shooting the owner of the bakery. They hit him in the chest and the leg," he said.

Hamid, a 26-year-old, said that he also fled the village on Saturday, saying that security forces had opened fire there.

"I was outside my house. ... They opened fire from far away. We fled into the mountains. I then saw my motorbike burning," he said. "Yesterday morning, they poured gasoline and set the mountains ablaze to prevent people from fleeing."

Samir, a friend of Hamid, added: "Only 1,000 people had remained there and they also fled yesterday. The people who stay behind are the ones who work for the regime."