Syria troops fire on Aleppo protesters, spark off clashes
AFP BEIRUT TROOPS opened fire on protesters after about 1,500 people took to the streets of Syria’s second city of Aleppo for an anti-regime rally on Wednesday, triggering armed clashes, a watchdog said.
“In the Fardous neighbourhood, demonstrations took place calling for the fall of the regime,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in a statement.
“The security forces opened fire on the demonstrators to disperse the protest,” the Britain-based watchdog added, noting clashes broke out in the area immediately afterwards.
The monitor did not have any details on casualties resulting from the violence.
Also in Aleppo, lawyers and other sympathisers with the anti-regime revolt staged a sitin on Wednesday at the northern city’s judicial complex, according to activists.
“Aleppo’s free lawyers are now staging a sit-in for the second consecutive day in the palace of justice, calling for the release of political prisoners, among them several lawyers,” activist Mohammad al-Halabi said. More than 1,000 people were taking part in the sit-in, Halabi said.
They were paying tribute to four Aleppo University students who were killed by regime forces during a protest on May 3. Regime forces tried to disperse the sit-in, and several of those taking part were detained.
Syria’s commercial centre and traditionally a bastion for the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, Aleppo has this month witnessed an escalation in anti-regime activity.
In southern Daraa province, more than 15,000 protesters rallied at a mass funeral for two people killed on Tuesday in the town of Dael, according to the Observatory’s Rami Abdel Rahman. More than 12,600 people have been killed in Syria since a revolt against President Bashar al Assad’s rule broke out in March 2011, including nearly 1,500 since a UNbacked truce took effect on April 12, Abdel Rahman said.