Syria's Bashar Assad with Muammar Gaddafi 311 (R).
(photo credit: Khaled Al Hariri / Reuters)
AMMAN - The killing of Libya's Muammar Gaddafi fuelled demonstrations
across Syria after Friday prayers that called for the ouster of
President Bashar Assad, braving a heavier than normal security presence,
activists and residents said.
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Initial reports from activists
said at least 13 protesters had been killed by live ammunition fired by
security forces trying to disperse demonstrations.
city of one million has been scene of extensive military operations to
suppress regular protests and a nascent armed insurgency that has
emerged after a relentless crackdown on persistent demonstrations
calling for more political freedoms.
"Gaddafi is finished. It is
your turn now Bashar!" shouted demonstrators in the town of Maaret
al-Numaan in the northwestern province of Idlib, according to one
"Prepare yourself Assad!" chanted protesters in the town of Tayyana in
the tribal province of Deir al-Zor, on the border with Iraq's Sunni
Assad, an ophthalmologist who inherited power from his late father in
2000, strengthened ties with Gaddafi months before the Arab Spring wave
of popular unrest against repressive ruling elites erupted in Tunisia in
The two countries struck a series of cooperation deals and Assad later
allowing a Syrian-based satellite station to broadcast messages from
Gaddafi while he was on the run. He was killed in unclear circumstances
after his capture on Thursday.
In the town of Houla northwest of Homs, a crowd of several thousands
held shoulders and waved old Syrian flags dating to before Assad's Baath
party took power in a coup 48 years ago.
"Doctor, you are next!" read banners carried by the villagers, according to live video footage.
Demonstrations also broke out in Homs, the provincial capital 140 km (85
miles) north of Damascus, where three members of same family were also
shot dead at an army road block in Bab Sbaa district on their way to
prayers, local activists said.
Syrian authorities say they are fighting "armed terrorist groups" in
Homs who have been killing civilians, prominent figures and troops. The
authorities have banned most foreign media, making verification of
events on the ground difficult.