Troops Kill 33 as Thousands of Protesters Rally across Syria
Security forces killed at least 33 people on Friday as protesters took to their streets in their thousands on Friday to call for regime change, activists and a rights watchdog said.
The Local Coordination Committees, the main activist group spurring protests on the ground, said security forces killed seven people in the northwestern province of Idlib, seven in the Damascus neighborhood of al-Tadamon, six in the central province of Hama, five in the central province of Homs, four in the northern province of Aleppo, two in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, one in the Damascus suburb of al-Mleiha and one in the southern province of Daraa.
For its part, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a demonstrator was killed in the Damascus district of al-Tadamon when security forces opened fire on a protest.
Activist Abu Omar, reached by Agence France Presse from Beirut via Skype, said troops shot at demonstrators outside the main mosque in the Damascus neighborhood of Jubar.
Shootings were also reported by activists in other neighborhoods of the capital and surrounding towns as well as in Hasakeh, in the northeast of the country.
Elsewhere, government forces used gunfire to disperse demonstrators in two districts of the central city of Hama and in another town of the same province, the Observatory added.
Opposition activists had called for nationwide protests under the slogan "Our commitment (to the revolution) is our salvation".
Anti-regime demonstrations have been staged after prayers each Friday since the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad's iron-fisted rule broke out in March 2011.
The Observatory said protests were also taking place Friday in northern Aleppo province, in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor and in northwest Idlib.
Amateur video posted on YouTube by activists showed demonstrators in Irbin, a town in Damascus province, carrying a banner that read: "Dear observers, thank you for your visit and goodbye."
The message referred to U.N. observers deployed in Syria to monitor a U.N.-backed ceasefire that went into effect April 12 but has failed to take hold fully.
"One year of killings and you still need observers to know the truth, enough lies," read another banner carried by protesters in a neighborhood of the capital.
More than 600 people have died in violence since the April 12 ceasefire went into effect, according to the Observatory.
Overall, the watchdog estimates that more than 11,000 people have been killed since the outbreak of the revolt.