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.

 

‘Intense awareness of interests’ but no ‘perfect agreement between Egypt and US

Yemen government returns to Aden with eyes set on Sanaa

'PKK suicide attack' kills two soldiers in eastern Turkey

Israel faces mounting pressure after baby killing in arson attack

Iraq protesters vent anger over poor services

UAE prosecutor refers 41 people to trial on terrorism charges

Egypt court postpones verdict on brother of Ayman al-Zawahiri

Immigration surpasses economy as major concern in Europe

Plane crash kills family members of Bin Laden

ISIS flexes muscles in eastern Libya

Syria army pushes back rebels near Latakia province

Arbil urges PKK to move out of Iraq Kurdistan

Erdogan calls for early elections if no coalition

Palestinian baby killed in arson attack by Jewish settlers

Kurds in Diyarbakir fear return to war

State of emergency in Tunisia extended

Jerusalem Gay Pride attack suspect lashes out in court

'Kurdish Obama' faces his biggest test

Yemen blockade 'killing' as many civilians as war

EU urges Israel to show 'zero tolerance for settler violence'

Cash-strapped Tunisia's Syphax airline grounds flights

Pentagon denies US-trained rebels captured in Syria

Morocco king calls for development of remote regions

Host of US celebrities endorses Iran nuclear deal

PKK braces for fight with Turkey in Iraq mountain bastions

Kurdish party chief dismisses Turkey anti-IS raids

Thomas Cook warns Tunisia attacks affect annual results

Three Al-Jazeera journalists await Egypt retrial verdict

Kuwait uncovers new IS cell

One Turkish police killed in attack blamed on PKK

Israel approves law allowing force feeding of prisoners

New sexist gaffe of Turkish deputy PM: 'As a woman, be quiet!

UN envoy invites Syrians to ‘thematic’ talks

Egypt's gift to the world: Suez Canal Axis

Pentagon to worried lawmakers: We will remain vigilant on Iran

Hamas calls for revolt against Palestinian Authority

ISIS claims deadly car bomb in Yemen capital

Allies tolerate Turkey's double game to boost IS fight

Somalia ‘making progress’ despite insecurity and election delay

Germany, Iraqi Kurds say Turkey should resume peace process

Syria skeptical about Turkey's intentions in fight against ISIS

Somalia indentifies hotel bomber as former German resident

US gets formal approval to use Incirlik air base in Turkey

Saudi policeman killed, 2 injured in attack

Israel PM approves 300 settler homes in occupied West Bank