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>syrian troops in lebanon Killed many, help them


At least 20 people are reported to have been killed after Syrian security forces shot at protesters during a day of demonstrations around the country against the autocratic rule of President Bashar al-Assad.

The violent official response to what activists massing against the regime had labelled “Great Friday” also saw security forces use tear gas to disperse protesters in Damascus.
It came just a day after Assad signed a decree on lifting a state of emergency law, in force continuously for 48 years. Separately, the first person who submitted an application to hold a protest under the new legal regime, named as Fadel al-Faisal from Hassakeh, was detained by police for several hours after doing so.
According to witnesses, who say the eventual death toll could be much higher, security forces opened fire on a series of demonstrations, including one in the city of Hama, where Assad’s father crushed an armed Islamist uprising nearly 30 years ago.
“We saw two snipers on the building. None of us had weapons. There are casualties, possibly two dead,” an unnamed witness told Reuters from Hama.
Elsewhere, troops shot at demonstrators in the Damascus districts of Barzeh and Douma, in Moudamiya, a town in the rural area around the capital, in the central city of Homs and on protesters heading for the city of Deraa, witnesses said.
More than 220 protesters have been killed since unrest broke out on 18 March in southern Syria, rights groups say, including 21 protesters killed this week in Homs.
The demonstrations were seemingly more widespread than ever before. In some areas statues and posters of Assad and his father and former president, Hafez, were torn down, and there were chants against Maher al-Assad, Bashar’s younger brother who commands the elite 4th division, regarded by most Syrians as a private militia and believed to be behind some of the shooting.
In the first joint statement since the protests broke out, a group of “local co-ordination committees” across Syria set out demands including the abolition of Ba’ath party monopoly on power and the establishment of a democratic political system. It ended: “We will continue to demonstrate, whatever the sacrifices.”
Security forces were heavily deployed ahead of Friday prayers, which have regularly proved a focal point for protests, with police setting up checkpoints across Damascus, apparently trying to prevent protests sweeping in from suburbs.
After prayers finished in Deraa, several thousand protesters gathered chanting anti-Assad slogans. “The Syrian people will not be subjugated. Go away doctor (Assad). We will trample on you and your slaughterous regime”, they shouted.


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