syria\s asad under pressure as half million march
Last Updated : GMT 09:07:40
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Egypt Today, egypt today
Last Updated : GMT 09:07:40
Egypt Today, egypt today

Hama governor sacked as death toll mounts

Syria's Asad under pressure as half million march

Egypt Today, egypt today

Egypt Today, egypt today Syria's Asad under pressure as half million march

Footage on YouTube shows anti-government protesters in the central city of Hama
Damascus - AFP

Footage on YouTube shows anti-government protesters in the central city of Hama Syrian President Bashar al-Asad sacked the governor of Hama on Saturday, a day after half a million rallied against the regime in the hotbed city, an as activists said the crackdown on dissent claimed 28 new lives.
Anti-regime dissent billowed on Friday in response to a call by a Facebook group for massive protests to demand the ouster of Asad and his autocratic regime.
In Hama alone there were 500,000 people on the streets, activists said, calling it the single largest demonstration of its kind since the pro-democracy movement erupted on March 15.
Asad reacted to the affront by sacking the governor of Hama, a city with a bloody past where an estimated 20,000 people were killed in 1982 when the army put down an Islamist revolt against the rule of his late father, Hafez al-Asad.
"The Syrian president signed a decree today relieving Doctor Ahmad Khaled Abdel Aziz of his post as governor of Hama," said a news flash on state television.
Most of Friday's victims were killed in Idlib province, where troops backed by tanks have swept through villages all week to crush dissent.
"Sixteen people were killed" in Idlib on Friday, Ammar Qorabi, the head of the National Organisation for Human Rights, said on Saturday.
Three of them were women who died when the army shelled a chicken hatchery in the village of Al-Bara, Qorabi said.
Another 10 people were killed when security forces opened fire to disperse protests in several cities, including eight in the central protest hub of Homs and two in the Damascus neighbourhood of Qadam.
One person was reported killed in Syria's second-largest city Aleppo and another in the Mediterranean coastal city of Latakia.
A previous death toll provided by activists late Friday gave a figure of 11 civilians dead, including a 50-year-old woman and her 20-year-old daughter in Al-Bara.
Friday's protests followed a call from the Facebook group, The Syrian Revolution 2011, which urged people to rally, branding July 1 "the Friday of departure."
"We don't love you ... Go away, you and your party," it said in a message addressed to Asad.
Qorabi, in a statement, said Friday's protests were among the biggest since mid-March and had spread to more Syrian regions.
"The number of protesters who took to the streets on Friday was one of the largest. Demonstrators marched in at least 268 Syrian regions compared to 202 regions last week," he said.
Varying reports had put the turnout in Hama alone at more than half a million.
The head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel Rahman, spoke of 500,000 protesters and said this was "the biggest demonstration since the Syrian Revolution broke out."
Another activist said that "more than 400,000 marched" while a third said that more than 200,000 people gathered in the city's Assi Square, stretching for more than one kilometre (nearly a mile), and that there was no sign of security forces.
There were similar scenes elsewhere across the country, including in Homs, another hotbed of protest and Syria's third-largest city, where one activist said "more than 100,000 people" rallied as tanks were deployed.
Homs was the focus of a report released Saturday by the New York-based rights watchdog Human Rights Watch, which denounced a rising death toll there and security forces for "terrorising people."
Citing Syrian rights groups and witnesses, HRW said 21 people had been killed in a government crackdown in Homs since June 17.
"During the city’s ongoing protests, security forces have beaten protesters with clubs, vandalised private property and broken into homes where they suspected protesters had sought refuge," HRW said.
"Security forces dressed in civilian clothes have detained protesters repeatedly, often travelling in taxis to approach and detain people," it added.
"Syria’s authorities accuse protesters of being ‘armed gangs,’ but it is their security forces who terrorise people," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at HRW.
More than 1,360 civilians have been killed in the government's crackdown against pro-democracy protests since mid-March, according to human rights groups, while thousands have been arrested.
 

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syria\s asad under pressure as half million march syria\s asad under pressure as half million march



 
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