Security Forces Fire on Rallies in Syria

Posted July 29th, 2011 at 11:15 am (UTC-5)
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Syrian security forces have used live ammunition and tear gas on anti-government demonstrators who gathered for rallies across the country on Friday.

Witnesses and activists say forces have fired shots to disperse protesters in the southern city of Daraa and in the seaside town of Latakia.

State-run media reports say “masked saboteurs” fired shots and threw dynamite at security forces and civilians in Latakia. The Associated Press quotes activists who say at least one person has been killed in unrest in the town.

Thousands of Syrians took to the streets after midday prayers on Friday, where some waved flags as they pressed their demands for President Bashar al-Assad's resignation.

The government has stepped up its deadly crackdown on dissent in recent days.

On Thursday, activists said security forces shot and killed at least two civilians in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour.

Rights groups say Syrian forces have killed at least 1,600 civilians during the past four months.

Separately Friday, Syrian state media said “saboteurs” bombed an oil pipeline in the country near the central city of Homs.

The reports say the explosion left a huge crater at the site and caused an oil leak.