24 Jun 2012

More killings in Syria

11:56 am on 24 June 2012

More killings were reported in Syria on Saturday as President Bashar al-Assad formed a new cabinet with key posts unchanged.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in Britain said 102 people were killed as the regime stepped up attacks on towns across the country.

The group said 69 of the dead were civilians.

At least 116 people were reported killed on Friday.

President Assad has announced the formation of a new government in which the foreign, defence and interior ministry portfolios were unchanged.

State television said Dr Riad Hijab is prime minister, Walid al-Muallem remains as foreign minister and Daoud Rajha and Mohammad al-Shaar are defence and interior ministers.

The Syrian National Council said the new line-up was a sham. Council head Abdel Basset Sayda said there was "no real change".

Meanwhile, the Guardian newspaper in Britain reported on Friday that Saudi Arabia is to pay the salaries of the Free Syrian Army, which is based in Turkey, to encourage mass defections.