July 15, 2011
Syrian security forces shot dead at least 12 protesters on Friday as hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets across the country in the biggest protests so far againstPresident Bashar al-Assad.
Assad, facing the greatest challenge to 40 years of Baath Party rule, has sought to crush demonstrations. But although rights groups say some 1,400 civilians have been killed since March, the protests have continued unabated and swelled in size.
“These are the biggest demonstrations so far. It is a clear challenge to the authorities, especially when we see all these numbers coming out from Damascus for the first time,” said Rami Abdelrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Police fired live ammunition and teargas in the capital Damascus, killing five people, and in southern Syria near the Jordanianborder, where four people were killed, witnesses sand activists said. Three protesters were shot dead in the northern city of Idlibm, they said.