Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, May 2011
Syrian Tanks Attack Towns of Rastan and Talbiseh,
Security Forces Fire at Protesters in Dair El-Zoar
May 29, 2011
'Several hurt' as Syria tanks encircle towns
Ma'an, Published today,May 29, 2011, 12:18
NICOSIA (AFP) -
Several people were wounded on Sunday when Syria's security forces
unleashed "intense gunfire" in the central towns of Rastan and Talbisa,
which were encircled by tanks at dawn, a human rights activist said.
Syrian tanks attack two central towns
By BASSEM MROUE | AP
Arab News, Published: May 29, 2011 13:38
Syrian government troops backed by tanks attacked Sunday two central towns that have seen intense protests against President Bashar Assad’s regime, while security forces opened fire at demonstrators overnight in several parts of the country causing casualties, activists said.
The activists said the attack on Rastan and Talbiseh, in the central province of Homs, occurred after authorities cut all telecommunications with the area. They added that all roads leading to the two towns have been closed off by security forces and soldiers.
“The towns are under siege,” one of the activists said.
The activist spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing government reprisals.
Also Sunday, human rights activist Mustafa Osso said security forces opened fire in the early hours of Sunday at about 8,000 protesters in the northeastern town of Dair el-Zoar wounding several people. He said there were protests overnight in different parts of Syria, including the Damascus suburbs of Zabadani and Douma.
Human rights groups say more than 1,000 people have been killed since the revolt erupted in Syria in mid-March — a toll that has both enraged and motivated the protesters.
The 10-week-old protests have evolved from a disparate movement demanding reforms to a resilient uprising that is now seeking Assad’s ouster.
Osso said armed forces are conducting operations in the southern village of Hirak, near the city of Dara'a where the uprising began.
Tanks have been used against Syrian cities and towns in the past weeks and major military operations were conducted in areas such as Daraa, the coastal town of Banias and the western town of Talkalakh near the border with Lebanon.
Al-Jazeera TV aired an amateur video showing five wounded Syrian soldiers laying on the floor of what appeared to be a hospital. It quoted activists as saying the five soldiers were shot by some of the comrades after they refused to open fire at protesters.
Assad appears determined to crush the revolt, which is posing the most serious challenge to his family’s 40-year rule. The harsh crackdown has triggered international outrage and US and European sanctions, including an EU assets freeze and a visa ban on Assad and nine members of his regime.
Syrian Activists Call for Protests Against Security Forces' Killing of 13-Year-Old Boy
By Associated Press, Published: May 28
Syrian activists have called for renewed protests in honor of a 13-year-old boy who allegedly was tortured and killed by security forces.
The main Facebook page for the protesters said Saturday the boy was “assassinated by treachery.” The image of the child’s body has outraged Syrians since it was shown on YouTube.
Human rights groups say more than 1,000 people have been killed since the revolt began in mid-March — a death toll that has enraged and motivated protesters.
The 10-week-old protests in Syria have evolved from a disparate movement demanding reforms to a resilient uprising that is now seeking President Bashar Assad’s ouster. On Friday, at least eight people were killed when security forces opened fire on protests around the country.
Syrian forces fire on protesters in east, one hurt
(Reuters) 29 May 2011 AMMAN -
At least one man was injured when Syrian security forces opened fired to disperse a night-time demonstration on Saturday in the eastern city of Deir al-Zor, scene of growing protests against Baathist rule, a witness said.
“I was hearing the bullets and the protesters chanting ‘the people want the overthrow of the regime’ at the same time,” the witness, a resident of the city, said by telephone.
Demonstrations have been held nightly in Deir Al Zor and other cities and towns to circumvent heavy security which has intensified in recent weeks after street demonstrations grew in numbers and tanks were deployed in and around urban centres.
Human rights campaigners said a night-time rally took place on Saturday in the town of Binish in the northwestern province of Idlib in protest against arrests on Friday, when the biggest demonstrations typically occur after weekly prayers.
In the southern plain of Hauran, the cradle of the uprising against President Bashar Al Assad, troops encircled the town of Hirak, which had been spared the kind of military assault that had caused hundreds of deaths in the region’s towns and cities in the past few weeks, witnesses and activists said.
The Syrian National Organisation for Human Rights said security forces shot dead 12 demonstrators on Friday during protests in 91 locations across Syria.
“The authorities are still pursuing the calculated course of using excessive violence and live ammunition to confront mass demonstrations,” the organisation said in a statement.
Scores of people in all walks of life had been arrested including a doctor, musician and an amateur boxer, it said.
It said the killings occurred in rural districts around Damascus, in southern Syria, the northwestern province of Idlib, the coast and the central city of Homs.
The bloodshed this week appeared to be on a lesser scale than recently. On Friday, activists put the death toll at eight. They said information was difficult to obtain because of communications and Internet disruptions imposed by the authorities.
State television said nine people, including police and civilians, were killed by armed groups on Friday. The official state news agency SANA said on Saturday customs officials seized 36 rifles in a truck coming from Turkey.
Rights groups estimate at least 1,000 civilians have been killed by security forces, the army and gunmen loyal to Assad in the past 10 weeks. They said 10,000 people have been arrested, with beatings and torture commonplce.
Leaders of the Group of Eight powers meeting in France on Friday condemned the violence and called on Damascus to respond to the Syrian people’s “legitimate demands for freedom”.
The United States and the European Union have already imposed sanctions against Assad and other Syrian officials. Russia and China have been more reticent in denouncing Assad.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the bodies of seven protesters killed on April 29 near the southern city of Deraa were handed to their families on Saturday, including two which it said showed marks of torture.
“We have the testimony of hundreds who were tortured, including scores of videos,” Observatory Director Rami Abdel Rahman said by telephone from Britain.
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