Syrian forces beat Kurdish demonstrators, fire tear gas

AMMAN - Hundreds of police and militiamenloyal to Syria's President Bashar Assad used batons to attackthousands of pro-democracy protesters in the country's mainlyKurdish city of Qamishli on Friday, witnesses said.

Police fired teargas to disperse protesters, injuringseveral people, witnesses added, in first major crackdown onKurdish demonstrators reported since the start of the four-monthuprising against Assad's rule.

The protesters shouted slogans demanding political freedoms,an end to discrimination against Syria's Kurdish minority,witnesses told Reuters.