Syria Banias Protest 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Three people were killed on Saturday when Syrian security forces opened
fire on anti-government protesters in the central city of Homs,
according to eyewitnesses. Several other protesters were injured during the clashes.
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Also on Saturday, more than twelve Syrian families fled their homes and travelled to Lebanon's border town of Wadi Khaled, after the Syrian army reportedly started shelling their southern village of Tal Kalakh, Israel Radio reported. The fleeing Syrians, some of who were reportedly injured, told residents in Wadi Khaled that the security forces began attacking the village early Saturday.
On Friday, security forces killed six
people in demonstrations across the country. The renewed violence comes
after the government promised to hold a "national dialogue" in the
The Syrian leadership has drawn increasing
international criticism and modest sanctions over its military crackdown
on two months of pro-democracy unrest in which rights groups say about
700 people have been killed by security forces.
occurred in the southern city of Deraa, cradle of the two-month-old
revolt against President Bashar Assad, the Damascus suburb of Qaboun and
the central city of Homs, rights campaigner Razan Zaitouna said.
rights campaigner said security police fired at a night demonstration
in the eastern town of Mayadeen, injuring four people.
He said a security clampdown had intensified in recent days in a tribal
area near the border with Iraq, where most of Syria's output of 380,000
barrels of oil per day are produced.
But the bloodshed and death toll after Friday prayers was less than on
previous occasions. There were fewer clashes and the numbers of
protesters were lower in areas where Assad dispatched troops and tanks
to stamp out rallies.
One rights activist said he had been told by a senior Assad adviser,
Bouthaina Shaaban, that the president had ordered troops and police not
to fire on demonstrators.
Security forces backed off from confronting a large demonstration on
Friday in Rastan near the central city of Homs, a witness said.
"There are signs that Assad may be changing tactics, possibly in
reaction to international pressure," a senior Western diplomat told
Reuters. "There were less shootings, but the fact that people came out
today to protest with the heavy security deployment is remarkable."
Before Friday's killings, Information Minister Adnan Hasan Mahmoud said
in televised remarks that Assad would hold a "national dialogue in all
provinces ... (in) the coming days."