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Chaos feared as Syria crisis nears bloody impasse

WADI KHALED, Lebanon-When the Arab Spring came to Talkalakh, the little Syrian hill town a few minutes walk from this border village, it seemed to last barely a moment. Squads of secret police descended on the town within hours of the first protests. Then the army came with its tanks, and the shadowy pro-government militia called the shabiha. The May siege killed at least 36 civilians, activists say. Hundreds of people were arrested. Thousands fled. By mid-June, the Sunni Muslim town of 70,000 people had only a few dozen families remaining, according to residents who recently escaped into Lebanon, and those still there are constantly watched by security forces. But when night falls, the Arab…