9 reported killed as rallies spread across Syria

Witnesses say security forces opened fire to disperse some 2,000 calling for freedom in Damascus suburb; thousands gather through Syrian cities.

April 1, 2011 17:43
2 minute read.
Syrians shout "freedom" during a protest

Syrian protests. (photo credit: REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Syrian security forces killed nine protesters across the country on Friday during anti-government protests, Arabic news daily Al-Arabiya reported citing witnesses and human rights activists.

Syria's state news agency acknowledged for the first time that worshippers in Deraa and Latakia, scene of protests and deadly clashes last week, had gathered after Friday prayers to call for accelerated reforms.

Defiant Assad blames country’s turmoil on ‘Israeli plot’
Analysis: Assad the intimidator

"A number of worshippers left some mosques in the cities of Deraa and Latakia, chanting slogans in honour of the martyr and calling for speeding up measures for reform ... There were no clashes between worshippers and security forces in these gatherings," SANA said.

Witnesses in the Damascus suburb of Douma said that three of those killed were among at least 2,000 people who chanted "Freedom. Freedom. One, one, one. The Syrian people are one," when police opened fire to disperse them from Municipality Square.

Two weeks of unprecedented unrest in Syria has left more than 60 dead and posed the gravest challenge to almost 50 years of monolithic Baath Party rule.

Click for full Jpost coverage of 
turmoil in the Middle East

Protests in several cities

Earlier, civic activists said protest marches had begun in the capital Damascus, Banias and the port city of Latakia against Assad's authoritarian rule after he stopped short of a clear commitment to meet popular demands for more freedoms.

Security forces and Assad loyalists attacked protesters with batons as they left the Rifaii mosque in the Kfar Sousseh district of Damascus after Friday prayers, a witness said.

At least six protesters were arrested and dozens were beaten as they made their way out of the mosque, the witness told Reuters by telephone from the mosque complex.

Around 200 worshipers chanted slogans in support of the southern city of Deraa where the unrest kindled by pro-democracy uprisings elsewhere in the Arab world first erupted.

Online democracy activists had called for protests across Syria on "Martyrs' Friday", after a spate of pro-democracy demonstrations challenging Assad's 11 years in power. His father, Hafez al-Assad, had ruled over the previous 30 years.

Activists said security forces and Assad loyalists had earlier gathered in force around the mosques where protests resumed after Friday prayers.

In his first public appearance since the demonstrations began, Assad declined on Wednesday to spell out any reforms, especially the lifting of a 48-year-old emergency law that has been used to stifle opposition and justify arbitrary arrests.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Rabbi Marc Schneier with United Arab Emirate's Minister of Tolerance, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak.
May 20, 2019
‘Bahrain natural choice to hold Mideast economic meeting’- US rabbi