Beirut: Syrian troops going house to house have detained more than 3,000 people in the past three days in the restive town of Rastan that government forces recently retook in some of the worst fighting since the country's uprising began six months ago, an activist said yesterday. The activist who gave only his first name, "Hassan", said the detainees were being held at a cement factory, as well as some schools and the Sports Club, a massive four-storey compound.

"Ten of my relatives have been detained," he said, speaking from hiding. Also, a member of Syria's outgoing parliament dismissed a broad-based national council set up by the opposition, saying it will not be able to overthrow President Bashar Al Assad's regime.

Khalid Abboud told The Associated Press that those who announced the formation of the council in Istanbul a day earlier are "deluding themselves."

Abboud dismissed the opposition move, saying: "It's a dream that will never come true."