Thursday, May 12, 2011

Syria protests: Thousands of students rally in Aleppo

Security forces have broken up a demonstration by thousands of students in Aleppo, Syria's second largest city, witnesses and activists say.

The dormitory protest is thought to be the city's biggest so far.

The students demanded an end to the military siege of other cities in Syria including Homs, Deraa and Banias, the main flashpoints of dissent against President Bashar al-Assad's government.

Eighteen people were reported killed on Wednesday amid an ongoing crackdown.

Tanks shelled Homs, the country's third city, and clashes were reported in towns and villages around Deraa, where the protests began in March.

Thousands of people have reportedly been arrested and hundreds killed in the government crackdown.

The Syrian government insists it is pursuing "armed terrorist gangs".

On Wednesday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on President Assad to "heed calls for reform and freedom and to desist from excessive force and mass arrest of peaceful demonstrators". (read more)