[credit provider=”Courtesy of the AP”]
At least 20 people were killed in violent clashes with Syrian security forces today, during the largest anti-government demonstrations since the unrest began last month.Most of the deaths occurred in Daraa, a southern city that has been at the centre of the country’s political upheaval.
Via The Guardian:
“There were protests everywhere and from what we have seen the numbers were larger than last week,” said Razan Zeitouneh, a lawyer and human rights activist in Damascus who is monitoring the movement. Protests were also held in Douma – which was largely peaceful after a brutal crackdown last week – Homs, Hama, Jableh, Banias, Deir Ezzor, Qamischli and small villages and towns around Damascus and Douma. Phones and internet services were not working in Douma.
State media again disputed that security forces were responsible for violence in Daraa, saying gunmen had fired on protesters and police. “This expresses clearly and openly that there are some people who wish evil on Syria,” a TV anchor said.
In the east, thousands of ethnic Kurds came out for protests, just hours after Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad said he would grant nationality to the stateless Kurdish community.
The announcement, like Al-Assad’s other reform attempts, appeared to heighten unrest. Protesters have dismissed the president’s concessions as insufficient and amplified demands for Al-Assad to step down. Activists demand that the government lift its 48-year-old emergency law and allow the formation of political parties.