Friday, June 24, 2011

Syrian forces fire on protesters, 10 now reported killed

Security forces opened fire Friday as thousands of anti-government protesters took to Syria's streets in a weekly ritual of defiance and demands for President Bashar Assad's ouster, activists said. They said at least seven people, including a child, were killed in Damascus and elsewhere.

Four were killed in Barzeh, a Damascus district five kilometres 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.

The other fatalities occurred in al-Kasweh, a suburb of the capital, Damascus, and in the central city of Homs, said Omar Idilbi of the Local Co-ordination 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, Idilbi said.

The committees said a 12-year-old boy, Rateb al-Orabi, was killed when security forces fired on protesters in the Shammas neighborhood in Homs. 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. (read more)