DAMASCUS, July 30 (Xinhua) -- Armed groups attacked law- enforcement members and a police station in the northeastern city of Deir al-Zour and stole some weapons and ammunitions, the official SANA news agency reported late Saturday.
Armed groups cut off and barricaded some roads in the city to terrorize residents, said SANA, adding the law-enforcement members encountered these groups and exchanged gunfire with them.
It said law-enforcement members are still hunting these groups down and using the right methods in dealing with situation there, adding the residents of Deir al-Zour expressed their worries of the groups' acts and stressed their refusal of any acts that would harm the country in general and Deir al-Zour in particular.
Meanwhile, the Syria-News, local news website, cited witnesses as saying that the city of Deir al-Zour is witnessing a proliferation of armed men and that the situation is so intense, as the water and electricity were cut off since Friday noon. It said there are large numbers of arrests in the nearby al-Bukmal city as well.
Security forces are conducting a large-scale house raids and arrests especially those whose ages range from 15 to 40, said the report, adding the families there don't know where the detainees are taken to.
"There is a shortage of food and the families there are helping one another by exchanging what they have of food and water," The website cited an unnamed journalist in the area as saying.
Activists said Deir al-Zour witnessed a large anti-government protest on Friday, as part of other protests that took to streets across the country, to press demands for the downfall of the leadership.
Local Coordination Committees (LCC), which tracks the protests in Syria, said the Syrian army had bombarded al-Jawza neighborhood, west of Deir al-Zour, with artilleries which left many injuries.
The city of Deir al-Zour has witnessed a large turnout since the eruption of protests more than four months ago.
Activists said the unrest in Syria has claimed the lives of more than 1,400 civilians, while the government disputed the toll, blaming the crisis on armed and extremist groups that aim to sow a sectarian rift in the country.