Activists: Syrian forces fire at anti-Assad protesters

Demonstrations against Assad break out across country; regime forces reportedly fire on protesters after Friday prayers in Deir al-Zor, Deraa.

By REUTERS
August 19, 2011 14:12
1 minute read.
anti-Assad protest in Deir al-Zor

anti-Assad protest in Deir al-Zor 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

AMMAN - Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad fired live ammunition to disperse protests demanding his removal on Friday in the eastern city of Deir al-Zor and the southern Hauran Plain, activists said, as demonstrations broke out across the country.

A demonstration in Takaya Street in Deir al-Zor, where one protester was killed two days ago, came under fire after Friday prayers, they said.

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A similar attack occurred on crowds at several mosques in and around the southern city of Deraa, the Syrian Revolution Coordinating Union said.

There were no immediate reports of casualties. Syrian authorities have expelled independent journalists from the country or banned them from working, making verifying events on the ground difficult.

Assad, from the minority Alawite sect in a nation that is predominantly Sunni Muslim, told UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon this week that military and police operations, which intensified since the start of the holy month of Ramadan this month to crush a five-month uprising against Assad's rule, had stopped.

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