At least 30 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.

May 20, 2011 23:13
1 minute read.
Protesters in Syrian city of Homs

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

AMMAN - Syrian security forces shot dead at least 30 demonstrators on Friday during protests that broke out across the country in defiance of a military crackdown which has killed hundreds of people, a rights activist said.

Other activists reported demonstrations across Syria, from Banias and Latakia on the Mediterranean coast to the oil producing region of Deir al-Zor, Qamishli in the Kurdish east and the Hauran Plain in the south, one day after the United States told President Bashar al-Assad to reform or step down.

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Syria has barred most international media since the protests broke out two months ago, making it impossible to verify independently accounts from activists and officials.

"No dialogue with tanks," said banners carried by Kurdish protesters who shouted "azadi", the Kurdish word for freedom, rejecting promises by the authorities for a national dialogue, a witness said.

Protests erupted in Damascus suburbs and the capital's Barzeh district, where two witnesses said security forces fired at protesters and chased them in the streets.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is based in Britain, said at least 831 civilians had been killed since the uprising against autocratic rule erupted in the southern city of Deraa nine weeks ago. It said at least 10,000 people had been arrested, including hundreds across Syria on Friday. Some protesters were calling for freedom, activists said, while others called for "the overthrow of the regime", the slogan of uprisings which toppled leaders in Egypt and Tunisia.

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