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59 killed as Syria intensifies crackdown

Syrian troops fired on mourners at a funeral and raided an eastern city Sunday, killing at least 59 people in an intensifying government crackdown on protesters. Outrage was intensifying as well: Syria's Arab neighbors forcefully joined the international chorus of condemnation against President Bashar Assad's regime for the first time.

Even the king of Saudi Arabia -- whose country does not tolerate dissent and lent its military troops to repress anti-government protests in neighboring Bahrain -- criticized the Syrian government, and said he was recalling his ambassador in Damascus for consultations.

More than 300 people have died in the past week, the bloodiest in the five-month uprising against Assad's authoritarian rule. Not all were killed by bullets or tank shells: In the besieged city of Hama, where the government has cut off electricity and communications, a rights group said eight babies died because their incubators lost power.

Sunday's worst violence was in the eastern city of Deir el-Zour, where at least 42 people were killed.

The government's crackdown on mostly peaceful, unarmed protesters demanding political reforms and an end to the Assad family's 40-year rule has left more than 1,700 dead since March, according to activists and rights groups. Assad's regime disputes the toll and blames a foreign conspiracy for the unrest, which at times has brought hundreds of thousands of protesters into the streets.

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