Syria clashes kill 12 protesters

Syria clashes kill 12 protesters

Military crackdown fails to silence pro-democracy movement

 Four were killed in Barzeh, a Damascus district 5 km from the city centre, said Syria-based human rights activist Mustafa Osso. He said they were felled by security forces’ guns. But Syrian state television said gunmen, otherwise unidentified, had opened fire on security personnel and civilians, killing three civilians and wounding several security force members.

Three other fatalities occurred in al-Kasweh, a suburb of the capital; four in the central city of Homs, and one in Hama, also in central Syria, said the Local Coordination Committees, which track the Syrian protests. Protests in several other provinces also came under fire but it was not immediately clear whether there were casualties, said a spokesman for the group, Omar Idilbi.

The committees said the dead included a 12-year-old boy, Rateb al-Orabi, who was killed when security forces fired on protesters in the Shammas neighbourhood in Homs, and a 13-year old boy in al-Kasweh. The reports could not be independently verified.

“Our revolution is strong! Assad has lost legitimacy!” protesters chanted in the Damascus suburb of Zabadani, according to video posted on YouTube. Another showed protesters chanting: “Oh Bashar, you coward, pack your bags and go to Iran.”

The military crackdown has failed to silence a pro-democracy movement that has now lasted more than 100 days. The Syrian opposition says 1,400 people have been killed in the continuing government crackdown.

In northern Syria, activists said at least 15,000 people held a protest on the highway linking the country’s two main cities, Damascus and Aleppo. Thousands marched in Amouda and Qamishli in the northeast and in other provinces, Osso said.

Dissidents reported a strong security presence in many locations. An eyewitness in Homs said protests took place in every city district on Friday. He said hundreds of security personnel had been brought in by bus since early morning and encircled the city’s centre.

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