Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

WEB NEWS

Nigerian web users call for end to violence

Read more

FOCUS

Bitcoin in the US: A monetary revolution?

Read more

ENCORE!

Fast cars and slow trains

Read more

WEB NEWS

Chile: online mobilization to help Valparaiso fire victims

Read more

FACE-OFF

François Hollande: France's most unpopular president

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Mansouria Mokhefi, Middle East and North Africa specialist

Read more

LIFESTYLES

Sustainable cuisine

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Google Was Making A Space Elevator And A Hoverboard, But Couldn't Get Them To Work

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A bitter pill to swallow

Read more

  • Russia and West agree on steps to ease Ukraine crisis

    Read more

  • Wheelchair-bound Bouteflika votes in Algerian election

    Read more

  • With a strong French presence, veterans and fresh faces, Cannes aims to please

    Read more

  • After cup defeat, Spanish pundits read last rites for Barcelona

    Read more

  • Frantic search for survivors of sunken South Korea ferry

    Read more

  • India heads to polls in single largest day of voting

    Read more

  • Ukraine talks open in Geneva as Putin talks tough on TV

    Read more

  • Pro-Russian separatists killed in attack on Black Sea base

    Read more

  • Man executed in Texas for 2002 triple murder

    Read more

  • Scandal-hit French doctor Jacques Servier dies at 92

    Read more

  • Belgian head of wildlife reserve shot in DR Congo

    Read more

  • Crunch talks on Ukraine begin in Geneva

    Read more

  • Stagehand of God? Maradona's legendary goal inspires a play

    Read more

  • US rolls out red carpet for French critic of capitalism

    Read more

  • N. Korea not amused by London hair salon's Kim Jong-un ad

    Read more

  • Real Madrid beat old foes Barcelona to lift Copa del Rey

    Read more

  • France's new PM targets welfare in drive to cut spending

    Read more

  • Campaigning against Bouteflika's re-election... in France

    Read more

  • Brazil club Mineiro cancel Anelka signing after no-show

    Read more

  • Syria 'torture' photos silence UN Security Council members

    Read more

  • Paris laboratory loses deadly SARS virus samples

    Read more

  • More than 100 schoolgirls kidnapped in northeast Nigeria

    Read more

  • New York police disband unit targeting Muslims

    Read more

  • 'Miracle girl' healthy after seven-organ transplant in Paris

    Read more

  • Paris police memo calling for Roma eviction ‘rectified’

    Read more

Americas

Hundreds arrested as Syria cracks down on protesters

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-04-26

Syrian forces arrested more than 500 people across the country following a violent crackdown by armoured troop divisions that left at least 20 people dead in Deraa, a human rights organisation said on Tuesday .

 REUTERS - Security forces have arrested some 500 pro-democracy sympathisers across Syria after the government sent in tanks to try to crush protests in the city of Deraa, the Syrian rights organisation Sawasiah said on Tuesday.

The independent organisation said it had received reports that at least 20 people had been killed in Deraa since tanks moved in on Monday, but communications with the southern town where the protests against President Bashar al-Assad began on March 18 had been cut making it hard to confirm the information.

Eyewitness account from Deraa

“Witnesses managed to tell us that at least 20 civilians have been killed in Deraa, but we do not have their names and we cannot verify,” said a Sawasiah official, adding that two civilians were confirmed dead in the Damascus suburb of Douma, which forces entered earlier in the day.

At least 500 were arrested elsewhere in Syria, it said.

Amnesty international, citing sources in Deraa, said at least 23 people were killed when tanks shelled Deraa in what it called “a brutal reaction to people’s demands”.

“By resorting to the use of artillery against its own people today, the Syrian government has shown its determination to crush the peaceful protests at virtually any cost, whatever the price in Syrians’ lives,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director.

Government forces also stormed the Damascus suburbs of Douma and Mouadhamiya on Monday, shooting and making arrests, a day after they swept into the coastal town of Jabla, where at least 13 civilians were killed, rights campaigners said.

Diplomats said the figures for civilians killed could be as high as 50 in Deraa and 12 in Mouadhamiya, which lies on the road to the occupied Golan Heights southwest of Damascus.

“The regime has chosen to use excessive violence. It worked in 1982, but there is no guarantee it will work again in the age of the internet and phone cameras,” said a senior diplomat referring to the 1982 crushing of a revolt in the city of Hama which killed up to 30,000 people.

Footage posted on the internet by demonstrators in recent days appears to show troops firing on unarmed crowds. In the Damascus suburb of Barzeh residents described security forces firing at unarmed protesters from a heavy machinegun mounted on a truck.

The White House, deploring “brutal violence used by the government of Syria against its people”, said President Barack Obama’s administration was considering targeted sanctions to make clear that “this behaviour is unacceptable”.

Syria has been under U.S. sanctions since 2004 for its support of militant groups. Several Syrian officials, among them Assad’s cousin Rami Makhlouf, a tycoon, are under specific U.S. sanctions for “public corruption”.

Leading human rights campaigner Suhair al-Atassi said Assad has launched a savage war designed to annihilate Syria’s democrats by attacking Deraa, Jabla and Damascus suburbs.

“President Assad’s intentions have been clear since he came out publicly saying he is ‘prepared for war’,” Atassi said, referring to a March 30 speech to parliament.

Security forces and the gunmen loyal to Assad have killed more than 350 civilians across Syria since pro-democracy protests broke out in Deraa, rights groups say. A third of the victims were shot in the past four days as the scale and breadth of a popular revolt against Assad grew.
 

 

Date created : 2011-04-26

  • SYRIA

    Armoured troops move into Deraa in latest crackdown

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Mourners killed as snipers fire on funeral marches

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Western leaders condemn violence against protesters

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)