Thousands protest against Assad regime; 26 killed
REUTERS DAMASCUS SYRIAN President Bashar al Assad’s forces renewed a bombardment of the opposition stronghold of Homs and attacks on rebels in Deraa on Friday.
Demonstrations against Assad were reported by activists in several cities across Syria, including the capital Damascus and the commercial hub Aleppo, after Friday prayers despite the threat of violence from security forces.
At least 26 civilians were killed on Friday as tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets to demand Assad’s ouster, a watchdog said.
“The toll of martyrs from Popular Resistance on Friday has reached 26 civilians,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, adding that protests spread to several previously calm areas of Damascus and of the secondlargest city, Aleppo.
An intense bombardment hit the mainly Sunni Muslim area of Baba Amro after Alawite-led troops, backed by armour, advanced from neighbouring Inshaat, opposition activists there said. “They are mostly firing rockets that directly fall onto buildings and mortar rounds now and then. Only Karama street now separates Baba Amro from the army at Inshaat,” activist Aba Iyad said by satellite phone from Baba Amro.
In Idlib, capital of the rugged northwestern province on the border with Turkey, two residents said that tanks ringed the city at dawn. Residents anticipated an assault.
“At every entrance of Idlib several tanks deployed along with pick-up trucks used for troop transport,” said one resident.
In Deraa explosions and machinegun fire echoed through districts under attack by troops, residents said.
SEE ALSO PAGE 24