Beirut: Activists say Syrian troops have stormed a suburb of the capital Damascus, killing at least four people.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the four were killed during a raid on Kiswah on Friday night. The observatory said on Saturday that the deaths in Kiswah raised Friday’s death toll to 12.

Mohammed Abdullah, a spokesman for the Local Coordination Committees, which track the protests in Syria, says at least six people were killed in the Kiswah raid. He said at least 22 were killed on Friday.

Authorities have waged a brutal crackdown that activists say has killed more than 1,600 civilians since the anti-government protests began in mid-March.

President Bashar Assad's government has sought to discredit those behind the protests by saying they are terrorists and foreign extremists, rather than true reform-seekers.