Syria protests erupt, Arab League fears civil war

January 13, 2012 15:25

AMMAN - Protests against President Bashar Assad erupted in several Syrian cities on Friday, activists said, and the Arab League chief said he feared the bloody unrest could degenerate into a civil war with ill effects for the wider region.

Security forces killed one demonstrator in the northwestern town of Idlib, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Protests also flared after Friday prayers in some areas of the capital Damascus, as well as the port city of Latakia, where Arab League monitors had come under attack from a pro-Assad crowd on Monday. "The people want the downfall of the regime!" people chanted near a Latakia mosque, one activist said.

Syrians determined to end four decades of Assad family rule have kept up protests since March despite a fierce crackdown by Assad's military and security forces that the United Nations says has cost more than 5,000 lives.

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