Some 500 arrested in Syria
Syria: Security forces have arrested some 500 pro-democracy
sympathisers across Syria after the government sent in tanks to try to
crush protests in the city of Deraa, the Syrian rights organisation
Sawasiah said yesterday.
The independent organization said it had received reports that at
least 20 people had been killed in Deraa since tanks moved in on Monday,
but communications with the southern town where the protests against
President Bashar al-Assad began on March 18 had been cut making it hard
to confirm the information.
“Witnesses managed to tell us that at least 20 civilians have been
killed in Deraa, but we do not have their names and we cannot verify,”
said a Sawasiah official, adding that two civilians were confirmed dead
in the Damascus suburb of Douma, which forces entered earlier in the
At least 500 were arrested elsewhere in Syria, it said.
Amnesty international, citing sources in Deraa, said at least 23
people were killed when tanks shelled Deraa in what it called “a brutal
reaction to people’s demands”.
“By resorting to the use of artillery against its own people today,
the Syrian government has shown its determination to crush the peaceful
protests at virtually any cost, whatever the price in Syrians’ lives,”
said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa
Government forces also stormed the Damascus suburbs of Douma and
Mouadhamiya on Monday, shooting and making arrests, a day after they
swept into the coastal town of Jabla, where at least 13 civilians were
killed, rights campaigners said.
Diplomats said the figures for civilians killed could be as high as
50 in Deraa and 12 in Mouadhamiya, which lies on the road to the
occupied Golan Heights southwest of Damascus. Amman, Tuesday, Reuters