At least 21 dead after forces fire at crowd in Syria

Crowds come under fire in at least 2 protests in Homs; rights group says largest demonstration since uprising began being held in Banias.

By REUTERS
May 20, 2011 15:33
1 minute read.
Protesters in Syrian city of Homs

Protesters in Syrian city of Homs 311 (R). (photo credit: Reuters)

 
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AMMAN - At least 21 protesters were killed when Syrian security forces fired on Friday at a pro-democracy demonstration in the town of Sanamin south of the capital Damascus, a Syrian human rights group Syrian Observatory said.

Syrian security forces fired live rounds into crowds gathered for at least two protests in the central city of Homs, an activist in the city said, as pro-democracy demonstrations erupted across the country earlier Friday.

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The Syrian rights group said the coastal city of Banias, which was stormed by the army this month, witnessed the largest demonstration since the uprising began in southern Syria nine weeks ago.

Thousands joined protests in Banias, , the capital Damascus and Homs, witnesses and activists said, defying heavy troop and security deployment to quell street protests against the autocractic rule of President Bashar Assad.

The renewed protests come a fay after Syria condemned sanctions imposed by Washington on Assad and other officials in response to the crackdown on protests.

An official source on Syrian state television said the sanctions were targeting the Syrian people and served Israeli interests. "The sanctions have not and will not affect Syria's independent will," the source was quoted as saying.

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