Syria: 3 killed in army attack as thousands take to streets

Despite army assault on northwestern towns, protests continue in Damascus suburbs, Lebanese border and Idlib province.

By REUTERS
July 1, 2011 14:39
1 minute read.
Anti-Assad protesters demonstrate in Aleppo, Thurs

syrian protests Aleppo_311 reuters. (photo credit: Ho New / Reuters)

Tens of thousands of Syrians took to the streets nationwide on Friday shouting that President Bashar Assad should "leave", extending a protest wave despite a military assault on restive northwestern towns, witnesses and activists said.

Demonstrations ranged from the suburbs of Damascus to the Lebanese border, the desert bordering Iraq and Idlib province, where tank assaults on hill villages near Turkey killed three civilians overnight, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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That raised the death toll to at least 14 villagers in the last two days, it said.

"Bashar get out of our lives," read placards carried by thousands of Kurds who marched in the northeastern city of Amouda, according to a YouTube video taken by a resident.

The renewed protests come after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday said Syria is running out of time to reform and will face more organized resistance if it does not.

Speaking at a news conference in Lithuania, she also said she was disheartened by the Syrian government's decision to allow one opposition meeting in Damascus was not sufficient.

Asked about the apparent contradiction between permitting the meeting while pursuing a tank offensive in the north, Clinton said: "It doesn't appear that there's a coherent and consistent message coming from Syria.



"They must begin a genuine transition to democracy and allowing one meeting of the opposition in Damascus is not sufficient action toward achieving that goal," Clinton, standing beside Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, told reporters.


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