First Published: 2011-04-19

 

Syria vows to suppress 'armed revolt'

 

Syria clears protest by force following massive sit-in demonstration in central city of Homs.

 

Middle East Online

20,000 demonstrators occupied the main square of Homs

DAMASCUS – Syrian security forces opened fire on a massive sit-in demonstration in the central city of Homs overnight, sending thousands of protesters scattering, rights activists said Tuesday.

"The sit-in was dispersed with force. There was heavy gunfire," an activist reached by telephone in Damascus said, without being able to give details of possible casualties.

Other Syrian activists living in exile confirmed the reports but said they had not been able to get further details due to telephone communications being cut in Homs.

Activists had said more than 20,000 demonstrators on Monday occupied the main square of Homs, some erecting tents, a day after 11 people were killed by security forces in the industrial city and a nearby town during a day of massive nationwide protest.

Inspired by popular uprisings which toppled hardline rulers in Tunisia and Egypt, the protesters had vowed not to leave Al-Saa Square in the centre of Homs until the regime of President Bashar al-Assad fell.

They dismissed as insufficient a weekend pledge by Assad that he would lift nearly five decades of draconian emergency law and demanded the release of all political prisoners and an end to arbitrary arrests.

The interior ministry issued a warning late Monday that it would suppress an "armed revolt" undermining security in the country.

"The latest incidents have shown that... armed Salafist groups, particularly in the cities of Homs and Banias, have openly called for armed revolt," said a ministry statement carried by the official SANA news agency.

It accused such groups of killing soldiers, policemen and civilians, and of attacking public and private property, and warned that "their terrorist activities will not be tolerated."

The authorities "will act with determination to impose security and stability in the country" and will "pursue the terrorists wherever they are in order to bring them to justice and end the armed revolt", it said.

The ministry called on people to "name the places where the terrorists and suspects are and not to allow them to live among them".

Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said Syria will proceed with reforms as promised, but warned against "sabotage" by protesters, SANA reported.

At least 200 people have been killed by security forces or plain-clothes police since the start of the protest movement, according to Amnesty International.

Meanwhile the United States acknowledged supporting non-government groups and civil society to bolster democracy in Syria but declined to comment directly on a WikiLeaks report it was secretly financing opposition groups.

 

Horse-trading begins as Tunisia awaits formation of new government

Israel closes al-Aqsa mosque to worshipers in rare move

UK court says Libyan Abdul-Hakim Belhaj can sue over rendition

Syria accuses Turkey of ‘flagrant violation of sovereignty’

Global campaign to end female genital mutilation kicks off

US to examine troops exposed to chemicals in Iraq

African Union hits back at Somalia rape claims

New scare in Turkey as ‘suspect packages’ found

‘Insults against Netanyahu’ cause embarrassment to US

Kuwait online activist gets four years in jail for insulting judges

Heavy fighting in South Sudan sparks fears of humanitarian catastrophe

Sweden officially recognises State of Palestine

Egypt jails retired general for damaging national security

Gaza civil servants receive delayed salaries

After US criticism, Israel vows no concessions to Palestinians

Libya internationally recognised PM opens doors of dialogue with rivals

Huthi rebels seize stronghold of Muslim Brotherhood in central Yemen

Will Nidaa Tounes shun Islamists in Tunisia government formation?

Egypt starts work on buffer zone along border with Gaza

Turkey Sultan unveils new palace: Another break with symbols of secular state

Heavy toll as ‘Islamic State’ fights for control of Syria oil field

Iran President suffers fresh setback with rejection of Science Minister

Nuclear deal or no deal: ‘Red lines’ lay bare internal divisions in Iran

Heavy security in Mogadishu as UN chief meets Somalia president

Fighters from Free Syrian Army leave Turkey to join Kobane battle

Israel denies banning Palestinians sharing buses

Kurd fighters leave northern Iraq base for Syria deployment

Jordan requests UN emergency meeting over Israel settler expansion

Jerusalem Mayor visits Al-Aqsa mosque prompting anger

Tunisia reinforces commitment to democracy with ‘transparent’ elections

Turkey ‘decides’ for Kobane future: No Kurds, no Assad... Only Free Syrian Army!

Bahrain suspends Al-Wefaq weeks before parliamentary elections

Huge game changer in Tunisia: ‘In-credible’ failure of Islamist Ennahda Party

Libya PM in Khartoum for talks with Bashir

PKK hijack truck seizing explosive substance

Saudi lawyers get jail time for offensive tweets

Ennahda concedes defeat in Tunisia parliamentary elections

Syria rebels launch assault on regime-held city of Idlib

Iraq peshmerga wait for Turkey stance to depart for Syria

Sisi enacts military trials decree to cover ‘existential threat’

US calls for online war against ‘Islamic State’

Donors pledge $8 billion for Horn of Africa

Acid attacks in Iran: Deputy of Judiciary Chief to lead investigation

Lebanon army enters Islamist stronghold in Tripoli

Israel approves plans for 1,000 settler homes in East Jerusalem