Anti-government demonstrations in Syria continued over the weekend, despite attempts by security forces to suppress the rioting. A number of demonstrations were held in numerous cities Friday, including Damascus, Homs, Latakia and Dara'a.
Syria has maintained a media blackout, making it difficult to report the events or accurately gauge the number of casualties. It seems, however, that the most violent clashes are taking place in the southern city of Dara'a.
Images from the city, which in the last few weeks depicted the fiercest clashes between demonstrators and security forces thus far, show protesters marching and chanting over the weekend alongside Syrian soldiers. A short time later, however, automatic gunfire is seen being sprayed in the direction of the demonstrators as people run for cover.
Other footage shows a group of protesters being dispersed by tear gas.
According to witness accounts, some 200 worshippers emerged from a mosque in the Kafr Sousa quarter of Damascus on Friday and began marching. The demonstrators chanted slogans in solidarity with the protesters in Dara'a, which has been the flash point of anti-government activity.
Witnesses also reported that at least six protesters were arrested and dozens were beaten by security forces in Damascus.
According to the Al Arabiya television station, at least 10 were killed on Friday. The American-backed Arab language Radio Sawa reported that 13 people died. It remains unclear whether most deaths took place in Dara'a, as casualties were reported in other cities too.
In Duma, just north of Damascus, reports indicated that security forces fired live rounds of ammunition at demonstrators, killing at least three. Similar reports said three were killed in Latakia.
The protests over the weekend differed from those in previous weeks, as they were joined by members of the Kurdish minority. The Kurds, who historically have been one of the more prominent opposition groups in Syria, have in recent years led a quiet protest against President Bashar Assad's regime.
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