Smoke over Deir al-Zour
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Syrian city of Deir al-Zour attacked by tanks

7 August 2011 Last updated at 17:25 BST

At least 42 people have died after the Syrian army stormed Deir al-Zour, the largest city in the east and a scene of frequent protests, activists say.

Scores of tanks and armoured vehicles are reported to have entered several areas of the city after a heavy bombardment that began before dawn.

At least 13 other people have been killed in Homs province, activists say.

President Bashar al-Assad has defended his security forces' deadly crackdown on dissent.

Jim Muir reports.