Syrian Forces Kill 27 Protesters Amid Tightened Security
Syrian security forces killed 27 anti-government protesters and carried out wide-scale arrests as demonstrators took to the streets after Friday prayers to demand that President Bashar al-Assad step down, al Jazeera television reported, citing activists.
The killings occured in the central governorate of Hama and in the suburbs of Damascus, Mahmoud Merhi, head of the Arab Organization for Human Rights, said by phone today. Gunfire was heard in the capital’s suburbs of Harasta, Douma and Barzeh, and some protesters were wounded, he said.
Security forces set up checkpoints and conducted searches starting late yesterday at the entrances of the three Damascus suburbs in anticipation of rallies, Merhi said. Thousands of people have regularly staged demonstrations after Friday prayers since the uprising started in March.
The Syrian protests are part of the wave of unrest across the Middle East and North Africa that has unseated governments in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.
Assad’s crackdown has left more than 3,600 civilians dead, according to Ammar Qurabi of the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria. About 30,000 people have been detained and 13,000 are still being held, Qurabi and Merhi said. About 700 members of the state security forces have been killed in the uprising, according to the government…