Syrian Forces Kill 43 as Protesters Rally across Country

Posted on: June 01, 2012 at 23:17
Syrian regime forces opened fire on protesters in the Douma area near the capital on Friday, as at least 43 people were killed in violence across the country, a rights group and activists said.

Regime forces killed 13 people in the countryside around Damascus, eight in the central province of Homs, nine in the northern city of Aleppo and its countryside, three in the central province of Hama, three in the northwestern province of Idlib, two in the coastal province of Latakia, two in the Damascus neighborhood of al-Mazzeh, two in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor and one in the southern province of Daraa, the Local Coordination Committees, the main activist group spurring protests on the ground, reported.

Scores of protests broke out in towns and cities across Syria to condemn the May 25 Houla massacre.

At a protest in Douma, ''regime forces opened fire on demonstrators. Everyone had to run away because there was nobody there to protect them,'' activist Mohammed al-Dumani told Agence France Presse via Skype.

He said several people were wounded.

The demonstrations were called to commemorate the 108 victims of a massacre last week, including 49 children, in the central town of Houla. Activists hailed the children as the ''flares of victory'' in the 15-month anti-regime uprising.

In Aleppo, Syria's second city, regime forces killed two people as they opened fire on protests which drew thousands of people, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The crowds ''chanted for the victory of the martyrs of Houla,'' another activist who declined to be named told AFP.

''People chanted in honor of the martyrs of Houla, and condemned the failure of (U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi) Annan's peace plan,'' notably a ceasefire which has been violated each day, Halabi added.

The U.N.-backed ceasefire that came into force on April 12 has failed to take hold. According to the Syrian Observatory, almost 2,300 people have been killed since the start of the truce.

The Observatory said two people were killed and a third seriously injured in an explosion in the al-Mazzeh neighborhood of Damascus.

Earlier on Friday, regime troops killed five people during raids and shelling of rebel positions in the town of Daraya outside the capital, the Britain-based monitoring group said.

Regime troops stormed the town -- a center for the armed opposition -- with tanks and fired shells at its western districts, the Observatory said.

The Houla massacre, which Damascus blamed on ''armed groups,'' stoked an international outcry and the expulsion of top Syrian diplomats from several Western countries.

On Friday morning, in al-Esseily neighborhood of Damascus, protesters demanded that further action be taken against the Syrian authorities.

''O Arabs, we demand more than the expulsion of the (Syrian) ambassadors; we also demand the expulsion of the Russian and Chinese ambassadors'' in Damascus, read one poster.

In the southern province of Daraa, a man was shot dead as he left a mosque in al-Sheikh Maskeen village, while heavy gunfire and explosions were reported in several towns.

In the city of Homs, central Syria, regime forces shot dead four people, while a child was injured in shelling of Houla, in the province of the same name, according to the Observatory.

And regime forces in Deir Ezzor province of eastern Syria shot dead a civilian in the town of Bukamal, it said.

Source:Agence France Presse
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