8 Dead in Syria as More Than 1.2 Million March in Hama, Deir Ezzor

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  • W460
  • W460
  • W460

Eight civilians were killed on Friday when Syrian security forces and regime agents used violence to disperse anti-regime demonstrators, as more than 1.2 million protesters flooded streets in the northern city of Hama and Deir Ezzor in the east, activists said.

"More than 1.2 million people marched: in Deir Ezzor there were more than 550,000, and in Hama more than 650,000," Rami Abdul Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, adding the security forces were notable by their absence during the protests.

In Hama, 210 kilometers north of Damascus, demonstrators chanted slogans "in favor of national unity and against sectarianism," while also calling "for the fall of the regime," Abdul Rahman said.

The authorities are trying to quell protests in the city where rights groups said 25 civilians were killed by the security forces last Friday. Hama has seen some of the largest recent protests against President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Memories in Hama remain strong of a 1982 crackdown by the president's father, Hafez al-Assad, against Islamists that left 20,000 people dead.

In Deir Ezzor near the border with Iraq, some 430 kilometers east of Damascus, "daily sit-ins are taking place calling for the fall of the regime," Abdul Rahman said.

Syrian television said "about 2,000 people took part in Friday's demonstration in Deir Ezzor, contrary to reports by satellite television channels which put their numbers at hundreds of thousands."

"Two demonstrators were stabbed to death in front of the Amneh mosque in Aleppo by pro-regime militiamen who entered the compound and attacked" the faithful, said Abdul Karim Rihawi of the Syrian League for the Defense of Human Rights.

Dozens more were wounded or arrested, he said.

In Aleppo province, another civilian was shot dead by security forces in Azzaz, he added.

In the central city of Homs, "two protesters were shot dead by security forces who dispersed demonstrations in the al-Khalidiyeh and Dawar al-Fakhoura districts," he added.

In the northwest, another demonstrator died of gunshot wounds inflicted by security forces in Kfar Rouma village in Idlib province bordering Turkey, Rihawi said.

Several people were also reported wounded in Idlib.

For his part, Abdul Rahman said: "Two protesters were killed by security force fire and others were wounded" at Mleiha in the Damascus region.

Thousands of protesters also marched in the capital Damascus, despite a clampdown by security forces ahead of Friday's weekly Muslim prayers.

Around 5,000 people thronged the neighborhood of Midan and thousands more emerged from three mosques in Hajar al-Aswad chanting slogans calling for freedom, activists said.

Earlier Abdul Rahman told AFP that army and security forces had barricaded the district of Rukneddine, isolating the mostly Kurdish-populated neighborhood, while a clampdown was also imposed on Qaboun district.

"Rukneddine is completely isolated. Barricades have been erected at all the entrances. Thousands of security officers are patrolling and conducting searches of homes and making arrests," he said.

Since the start of anti-regime protests in Syria in mid-March, pro-democracy demonstrators have chosen Friday -- the weekly day of rest when devout Muslims gather for midday prayers -- to vent their rage and call for change.

Meanwhile France on Friday condemned the repression in Syria, particularly the crackdown on dissent in Homs, with the foreign ministry spokesman saying the army should protect the people rather than "sow terror."

Comments 5
Missing startrip 22 July 2011, 20:46

People shouting down the brutal dictator, unafraid of of the assured bullets of the regime thugs is the epitome of bravery. They will prevail.

Default-user-icon The Truth (Guest) 22 July 2011, 23:37

Ya Phenicien and all supporters of the Syrian regime, I suppose the 1.2 million people are all foreign spies and terrorists right?

Thumb canaanite 23 July 2011, 06:32

The Syrian people have finally succeeded in congregating in one centre to provide a spectacle to show the world their large numbers and give the protests legitimacy. Other Syrians will take heart with what was just seen and will be more willing to go to the next protest and the crowds will get larger. Also, more army dessertions will take place as they witness these large protests. This is the beginning of the end and protestors have won out the long battle against Assad. If Assad does not step down, there will be a civil war which I hope does not come true. It is time Assad stops using Lebanese and Palestinians for his own personal agendas and we wait the day for his fall. The next to fall will be Hezbollah's weapons!.. Al Shaab yurrid saqat al saleh!

Missing roger 23 July 2011, 14:14

Assad days are numbered.

Default-user-icon TITUS (Guest) 23 July 2011, 15:07

The Brave Syrian Free People will Prevail and the Butcher of the Syrian, Lebanese, and other peoples in the ME, the Criminal Assad's fall from Grace will be spectacular!! To the Brave Free People of Syria I say: March on for Freedom, Democracy, tolerance, and for Peace.. YOU WILL PREVAIL!! ALL THE BEST TO YOU BRAVE SOULS!!