Renewed protests erupt in eastern Syria as death toll rises

Thousands of demonstrators arrested; UN rights office says up to 850 killed in Syrian unrest, calls on Syrian government "to cease use of force and mass arrests to silence opponents."

May 13, 2011 14:16
2 minute read.
Protestors in Syria

Protestors in Syria 311. (photo credit: Reuters)


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 analyses 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

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

AMMAN - Thousands of Syrian Kurds demonstrated in the east of the country on Friday to demand an end to military actions that have killed hundreds of protesters, a Kurdish opposition leader said.

"The demonstrations are expanding in numbers," Habib Ibrahim told Reuters, adding that demonstrations erupted in the provincial capital of Qamishli and in the smaller towns of Amouda and Derabasiyeh near the border with Turkey.

Editorial: Syria’s curious plea
Syria defers run for seat of UN Rights Council

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

Earlier Friday,a  United Nations human rights office in Geneva said the death toll in Syria may be as high as 850 and thousands of demonstrators have been arrested during a two-month military crackdown.

"We again call on the government to exercise restraint, to cease use of force and mass arrests to silence opponents," Rupert Colville, spokesman of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told a news briefing.

The toll of 700-to-850 dead, based on information provided by human rights activists, was "quite likely to be genuine", he added.

Syria has blamed most of the violence on "terrorist groups" backed by Islamists and foreign agitators. But a rights campaigner, speaking ahead of Friday prayers that have become a rallying point for protesters, said President Bashar Assad has ordered troops not to fire on pro-democracy demonstrators.

A high-level UN human rights mission was preparing to go to Syria, as well as neighboring countries, but had not yet received a reply from Damascus, according to Colville.

"We hope to be ready to deploy as soon as we are granted access," he said.

"We have many reports of use of snipers, use of tanks in a number of towns. The government is reporting that soldiers and police have been killed, that is why we want to get in there and see for ourselves," he added.

Colville also voiced concern about arrest and torture of dissidents in Bahrain, including the death of four detainees while in custody, and announced that Yemen had accepted a visit by a UN human rights mission, suggesting a date of late June.

On Thursday, Syrian forces surrounded Hama, the scene of a bloody 1982 crackdown by the father of President Bashar Assad, and dispersed a rally in the second city of Aleppo, in the latest signs that the unrest could turn into a drawn-out, bloody revolt.

The Associated Press quoted a human rights activist saying troops backed by tanks had deployed around Hama, a central city in which then-president Hafez Assad killed some 20,000 people in putting down a Muslim Brotherhood insurrection.

In Aleppo, 2,000 students rallied at the city’s prestigious university in the first indication that the rebellion had reached the northern city.

Tanks advanced in the southern towns of Dael, Tafas, Jassem and al-Harra – just a few kilometers east of the Golan Heights – ahead of post-prayer Friday demonstrations that have become hallmarks of the so-called “Arab Spring.”

Related Content

August 17, 2018
German Jewish council urges end of Iran-Germany trade