Hundreds of protestors rally across Syria: state TV

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, June 18, 2011
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Hundreds of protestors rallied Friday in various Syrian cities and dispersed in a short time, Syria's state TV reported.

An "armed group" opened fire on security forces in the central province of Homs, killing one officer and wounding other 20, the state TV added.

Meanwhile, the Doha-based Al-Jazeera TV quoted activists as reporting that Syrian security forces gunned down 19 people nationwide, as thousands of anti-government protestors hit the streets Friday after Muslims' noon prayers in several towns and cities across Syria, including Homs, Hama, Daraa, Der al-Zour, Jableh and other cities, calling for freedom and the downfall of the regime.

The Syrian government said 500 members of security forces have died since the eruption of protests in mid March, including 120 last week in north Syria, meanwhile, according to activists, more than 1,400 civilians have died and some 10,000 have been detained during the government's crackdown on protests.

The recent turbulence in Syria has drawn international condemnation. On Friday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said France and Germany had agreed to push for tougher sanctions against Syria for the alleged ongoing crackdown on protests.

"France, hand-in-hand with Germany, calls for tougher sanctions against Syrian authorities who are conducting intolerable and unacceptable actions and repression against the population."

Meanwhile, the Syrian army continued its operation in the northwestern towns of Maarrat al-Numan and Khan Shekhoun after it took full control of Jisr al-Shugur, a town bordering Turkey, where the authorities said 120 security personnel were killed by "armed groups" earlier this month.

Turkish authorities said the number of Syrians fleeing violence at home and streaming into Turkey has reached nearly 10,000. Another 5,000 residents in the western area of Tal Kalakh crossed the border to Lebanon earlier this month.

Syria has been wracked by more than three months of anti- government protests calling for freedom and reform. The Syrian government pins the blame on "armed extremists groups" that aim at toppling al-Assad's regime and establishing an Islamic emirate instead.

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