Friday, June 03, 2011

Syria Continues Slaughter of Its People -- 25 Dead in Hama

Thousands of demonstrators on Friday also rallied in and around Damascus, which so far has been largely spared the protests rocking Syria for more than 10 weeks, another rights activist said.

About 2,000 people marched in Rukn Al-Din suburb and police armed with batons beat demonstrators in the southern Damascus district of Midan in a bid to break up a rally, said Abdul Karim Rihawi of the Syrian League for Human Rights.

Thousands more joined rallies calling for the end of Assad's regime across Damascus province, including in Jdaidet Artuz, Daraya and Zamalka.

"All the measures taken by the authorities to calm the street have failed," Rihawi said in apparent reference to Assad's decision on Wednesday to launch a "national dialogue" and decree an amnesty for hundreds of political prisoners.

Near the southern protest hub of Daraa, security forces opened fire to disperse a crowd in Jassem, a rights activist told AFP, as protesters also gathered in nearby Dal and in Kurdish towns of northern Syria.

Overnight, in several cities including Aleppo in the north and Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria residents took to rooftops to chant "God is Greatest," a slogan taken up by the opposition, said Abdel Rahman.

A government crackdown which focused earlier this week on the flashpoint Homs region left at least 75 civilians and military personnel dead since Sunday, according to the rights group chief.

Syrian state television on Friday broadcast the accounts of three suspected members of an "an armed criminal group" who said they had "killed demonstrators and security agents" in Homs.

Al-Baath newspaper, viewed as the mouthpiece of the Baath party which has ruled Syria since 1963, quoted the men as saying they had "cut roads" and "burnt public buildings" in exchange for money and guns.

Residents, meanwhile, said Internet lines were cut in Damascus and the coastal city of Latakia on Friday, in a repeat of a suspension of services at the start of April.

Syrian activists called the latest protests over the dozens of children killed in anti-government protests such as 13-year-old Hamza Al-Khatib whom activists say was tortured to death, a charge denied by the authorities.

"The people want the fall of the regime. Tomorrow, it's 'Children's Friday' of rising up against injustice, like the adults," the activists announced on their Facebook page Syrian Revolution 2011, an engine of the uprising.

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