Deaths in Syria as crackdown continues

At least 20 killed by security forces, during Friday protests, according to activists, including at least six in Homs.

Syria protests Friday

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At least 20 people have been reported killed in the latest clashes in Syria as the government called on anyone with arms to turn themselves within one week to qualify for an amnesty.

As massive anti-government demonstrations took place across the country following Friday prayers, four civilians were reported to have been killed after security forces opened fire on protesters in the district of Kanaker in the capital, Damascus.

Two protesters were reported killed in Hama, and one in the city of Hamouriya, not far from Damascus. Two others were reported killed trying to cross the border and flee into Jordan, according to reports.


Six reported deaths in the Bab Amro area of Homs on Friday came a day after 22 civilians were reportedly killed there in a military crackdown.

“Syrian security forces continue to shell and launch attacks on Bab Amro district,” said Al Jazeera’s Nisreen El-Shamayleh, reporting from Jordan.

“At least 10 people were injured, but ambulances were prevented from entering the area to reach the wounded. And we are hearing reports that planes are still hovering over the district,” El-Shamayleh said.

Specific information about the three other reported deaths was not immediately available.

In the port city of Latakia, an activist said he counted 13 security trucks surrounding the main Arsalan mosque. He said at least three protesters were wounded by security forces firing in front of the Bazar mosque in the centre of the city.

“They were hit and taken by the security forces. In front of every mosque in Latakia there are several hundred security personnel carrying either batons, handguns, or automatic rifles,” the activist said.

Amnesty deal

Friday’s violence came as Syria’s government announced details of a week-long amnesty period, starting from Saturday.

“The interior ministry calls on citizens who carried weapons, sold them, delivered them, transported them or funded buying them, and did not commit crimes, to hand themselves into the nearest police station,” state television said on Friday.

“The interior ministry assures that those who turn themselves in … will then be freed immediately and it will be considered as a general amnesty,” the state media said.


The US State Department advised Syrians against turning themselves in.

“I wouldn’t advise anybody to turn themselves in to regime authorities at the moment,” Victoria Nuland, a US spokesperson, told reporters.

The renewed violence appeared to contravene a mediation deal agreed between Damascus and the Arab League on Wednesday which had called for Syrian troops to end their presence in cities and residential areas.

The agreement, which also called for the release of all political prisoners and monitoring of the situation inside Syria by league officials and foreign media, was announced at an emergency meeting in Cairo, where the regional body gathered to discuss plans to ease the violence and end the unrest in Syria.

The peace deal “emphasised the need for the immediate, full and exact implementation of the articles in the plan”, but members of the Syrian National Council (SNC), an umbrella opposition group, have voiced serious scepticism over the government’s willingness and sincerity to put the deal into effect.

“There is no indication on the ground that the Syrian government has at all started implementing the Arab League proposal to end the unrest,” Al Jazeera’s El-Shamayleh said.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies