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Troops Fire, Thousands March Throughout Syria (VIDEO)

Troops Fire, Thousands March Throughout Syria (VIDEO)

At least 26 people — and as many as 34, according to human rights activists — were killed today in protests in Syria. Protests in the capital of Damascus were larger than they have been, while thousands — including women and children — rallied in the coastal city of Baniyas. Residents of Homs reported that security forces shot at four different neighborhoods.

The protests occurred after Friday prayers, as has repeatedly occurred throughout Syria since protests began in March in the southern city of Dara’a. The country-wide demonstrations occurred a day after President Barack Obama said that President Bashar al-Assad must lead a transition to a democracy or “get out of the way” in a speech about US policy in the region. From Obama’s speech:

Most recently, the Syrian regime has chosen the path of murder and the mass arrests of its citizens. The United States has condemned these actions, and working with the international community we have stepped up our sanctions on the Syrian regime –- including sanctions announced yesterday on President Assad and those around him.

The Syrian people have shown their courage in demanding a transition to democracy. President Assad now has a choice: He can lead that transition, or get out of the way. The Syrian government must stop shooting demonstrators and allow peaceful protests. It must release political prisoners and stop unjust arrests. It must allow human rights monitors to have access to cities like Dara’a; and start a serious dialogue to advance a democratic transition. Otherwise, President Assad and his regime will continue to be challenged from within and will continue to be isolated abroad.

The BBC reports that the Syrian government has accused Obama of meddling “in the internal affairs of the region’s countries, including Syria”; the US President’s speech was described as an “incitement.”

The BBC also reports that both the police forces and protesters took new measures that suggested that neither side is going to give in anytime soon. According to witnesses,

“The surprise today is that the security forces are resorting to several tactics to disperse the protests. These include firing shots at protesters and driving their vehicles into the middle of the protests.”

Every time youthful protesters were dispersed, they would “regroup with more enthusiasm and strength in defiance of the security”, the witness added.

The coastal city of Baniyas — which was subject to a crackdown by soldiers and tanks earlier this month — witnessed one of its largest demonstrations yet, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said

Thousands of men, women and children took to the streets, with many of the men baring their chests to show they were not armed, the organisation told the AFP news agency.

This video shows protesters in Berze, a northeast suburb of Damascus, using back alleys where they can avoid being shot at by snipers.

Al-Jazeera reports that “regime supporters with iron bars had attacked a group of 500 to 700 worshippers as they left the Dahabiyyeh mosque in the Old City” after Friday prayers. Security forces have also used sticks, live ammuniation and tear gas against protesters.

Over 850 have died so far since the uprising in Syria began; about 4,000 people have fled into Lebanon. Syrian officials have, says the New York Times, ”maintained that the government has the upper hand, in a sign that it believed the crackdown could bring quiet.” Indeed, in an interview with a Syrian newspaper this week, President Bashar al-Assad himself has said that “the unrest would soon come to an end” — though, if the message in the streets is any indication, his prediction may not come to pass.

This video shows Syrians burning Russian and Iranian flags in the city of Hama, described as a stronghold of the Muslim Brotherhood.

 

Previous Care2 Coverage

BREAKING: President Obama Imposes Sanctions on Bashar al-Assad

Violence on the Syrian-Israeli Border; Mass Grave Found Near Dara’a (VIDEO)

At Least 12 Killed as Palestinians Breach Israel’s Borders on Nakba Day (VIDEO)

Syrian Government Vows to Fight Protesters “To the End”

Women & Children Among Hundreds Arrested in Syria; Is Iran Aiding Assad? (VIDEO)

 

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Photo of protesters in Berze from a screenshot of a video by barza200 via YouTube.

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12 comments

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3:05AM PDT on May 23, 2011

thanks for the info

3:25PM PDT on May 22, 2011

Jeffrey W. stated the current situation in Syria beautifully.

8:38AM PDT on May 22, 2011

The killing seems endless. Who's supplying all the ammo?

9:51PM PDT on May 21, 2011

good information, thank you. Jeffrey, its never enough, eh? He's doing the best he can with the support, or lack thereof, of those like yourself who are critics and couch potatoes

2:58PM PDT on May 21, 2011

Jeffrey W. apparently you missed the President's speech Thursday.

We can't inter in all conflicts, it not physically possible and it's not wise. Assad is getting away with the same thing his father did. This is a family of dictator, ruthless, murderous dictators.

12:33PM PDT on May 21, 2011

This just makes my stomach turn. Bashar al-Assad must go!

8:43AM PDT on May 21, 2011

I believe the President wanted to do more than urge Assad to get out of the way. We cannot do more than verbally support these brave Freedom Fighters. As much as I would like the President to do more do get Assad out, we cannot be the keeper of the peace around the world. The first order of the day has to be to get our troops out of Afghanistan. I am hoping that the United Nations will take action in Syria and stop the brutal murders of the Syrian people who just want to be free of tyranny and to have a democracy. A tenet that we Americans take for granted..

7:56AM PDT on May 21, 2011

It would be way too inconvenient to train another puppet government in the region-- especially when they've been doing such a good job protecting the Israeli borders and pretending Golan was never theirs. Shame on you America: didn't think twice to attack the Iraqis in your efforts to spread your democracy, but when others are begging for your help, you just slap the regime's hand? smh

12:00AM PDT on May 21, 2011

Yet Obama, while openly condemning Mubarek and Gaddafi, has yet to aim any real criticism at al Assad, Even worse, he re-instated an ambassador to Syria, which had been withdrawn by Bush.

8:01PM PDT on May 20, 2011

Thanks for posting this information

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