Syrian security forces open fire at protests

At least five seriously hurt as thousands of protesters take to the streets

Topics: Middle East, Syria,

Syrian security forces open fire at protestsSyrians cross the border as they flee violence in Syria, in the Wadi Khaled area, about one kilometer (0.6 miles) from the Lebanon-Syria border, Lebanon, Thursday, April 28, 2011. In a further blow to President Bashar Assad, more than 200 members have quit Syria's ruling Baath Party in the southern province at the center of the uprising to protest the Assad regime's brutal crackdown on opponents, a human rights activist said. (AP Photo)(Credit: AP)

Syrian security forces opened fire on a demonstration Friday in the coastal city of Latakia — the heartland of the ruling elite — wounding at least five people as thousands took to the streets in several places across the country, witnesses said.

President Bashar Assad’s regime has stepped up its deadly crackdown on protesters in recent days by unleashing the army along with snipers and tanks. On Friday, protesters came out in their thousands, defying the crackdown and using it as a rallying cry.

A witness in Latakia said about 1,000 people turned out for an anti-government rally when plainclothes security agents with automatic rifles opened fire. He said he saw at least five people wounded. Like many witnesses contacted by The Associated Press, he asked that his name not be used for fear of reprisal.

Other demonstrations were reported in Banias and in the northeastern city of Qamishli.

The government had warned against holding any demonstrations Friday. Syrian state television said the Interior Ministry has not approved any “march, demonstration or sit-in” and that such rallies seek only to harm Syria’s security and stability.

Many of the protests were held in solidarity with more than 50 people killed in the last week alone in Daraa, a southern city at the center of the revolt. Daraa has been under military siege since Monday, when thousands of soldiers stormed in backed by tanks and snipers.

A devastating picture was emerging from the city — which is largely sealed off, without electricity and telephones — as residents flee to neighboring countries.

At the Jordanian side of the Syrian border, several Daraa residents who had just crossed over said there is blood on the streets of the city.

“Gunfire is heard across the city all the time,” one man said, asking that his name not be used for fear of retribution. “People are getting killed in the streets by snipers if they leave their homes.”

An AP reporter at the border heard gunfire and saw smoke rising from different areas just across the frontier. Residents said the gunfire has been constant for three weeks.

Since the uprising in Syria began in mid-March, inspired by revolts across the Arab world, more than 450 people have been killed nationwide, activists say.

The Muslim Brotherhood urged Syrians to demonstrate Friday against Assad in the first time the outlawed group has openly encouraged the protests in Syria. The Brotherhood was crushed by Assad’s father, Hafez, after staging an uprising against his regime in 1982.



“You were born free, so don’t let a tyrant enslave you,” said the statement, issued by the Brotherhood’s exiled leadership.

Assad has said the protests — the gravest challenge to his family’s 40-year ruling dynasty — are a foreign conspiracy carried out by extremist forces and armed thugs.

But he has acknowledged the need for reforms, offering overtures of change in recent weeks while brutally cracking down on demonstrations.

Last week, Syria’s Cabinet abolished the state of emergency, in place for decades, and approved a new law allowing the right to stage peaceful protests with the permission of the Interior Ministry.

But the protesters, enraged by the mounting death toll, no longer appear satisfied with the changes and are increasingly seeking the regime’s downfall.

“The people want the downfall of the regime,” said an activist in the coastal city of Banias — echoing the cries heard during the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions.

Syria has banned nearly all foreign media and restricted access to trouble spots since the uprising began, making it almost impossible to verify the dramatic events shaking one of the most authoritarian, anti-Western regimes in the Arab world.

Witnesses and human rights groups said Syrian army units clashed with each other over following Assad’s orders to crack down on protesters in Daraa, where the uprising started.

While the troops’ infighting in Daraa does not indicate any decisive splits in the military, it is significant because Assad’s army has always been the regime’s fiercest defender.

It is the latest sign that cracks — however small — are developing in Assad’s base of support that would have been unimaginable just weeks ago. Also, about 200 mostly low-level members of Syria’s ruling Baath Party have resigned over Assad’s brutal crackdown.

——

AP writers Jamal Halaby at the Jordanian-Syrian border, Diaa Hadid in Cairo and Elizabeth A. Kennedy in Beirut contributed to this report.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 14
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Pilot"

    One of our first exposures to uncomfortable “Girls” sex comes early, in the pilot episode, when Hannah and Adam “get feisty” (a phrase Hannah hates) on the couch. The pair is about to go at it doggy-style when Adam nearly inserts his penis in “the wrong hole,” and after Hannah corrects him, she awkwardly explains her lack of desire to have anal sex in too many words. “Hey, let’s play the quiet game,” Adam says, thrusting. And so the romance begins.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Elijah, "It's About Time"

    In an act of “betrayal” that messes up each of their relationships with Hannah, Marnie and Elijah open Season 2 with some more couch sex, which is almost unbearable to watch. Elijah, who is trying to explore the “hetero side” of his bisexuality, can’t maintain his erection, and the entire affair ends in very uncomfortable silence.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Charlie, "Vagina Panic"

    Poor Charlie. While he and Marnie have their fair share of uncomfortable sex over the course of their relationship, one of the saddest moments (aside from Marnie breaking up with him during intercourse) is when Marnie encourages him to penetrate her from behind so she doesn’t have to look at him. “This feels so good,” Charlie says. “We have to go slow.” Poor sucker.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and camp friend Matt, "Hannah's Diary"

    We’d be remiss not to mention Shoshanna’s effort to lose her virginity to an old camp friend, who tells her how “weird” it is that he “loves to eat pussy” moments before she admits she’s never “done it” before. At least it paves the way for the uncomfortable sex we later get to watch her have with Ray?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Hard Being Easy"

    On the heels of trying (unsuccessfully) to determine the status of her early relationship with Adam, Hannah walks by her future boyfriend’s bedroom to find him masturbating alone, in one of the strangest scenes of the first season. As Adam jerks off and refuses to let Hannah participate beyond telling him how much she likes watching, we see some serious (and odd) character development ... which ends with Hannah taking a hundred-dollar bill from Adam’s wallet, for cab fare and pizza (as well as her services).

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Booth Jonathan, "Bad Friend"

    Oh, Booth Jonathan -- the little man who “knows how to do things.” After he turns Marnie on enough to make her masturbate in the bathroom at the gallery where she works, Booth finally seals the deal in a mortifying and nearly painful to watch sex scene that tells us pretty much everything we need to know about how much Marnie is willing to fake it.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Tad and Loreen, "The Return"

    The only sex scene in the series not to feature one of the main characters, Hannah’s parents’ showertime anniversary celebration is easily one of the most cringe-worthy moments of the show’s first season. Even Hannah’s mother, Loreen, observes how embarrassing the situation is, which ends with her husband, Tad, slipping out of the shower and falling naked and unconscious on the bathroom floor.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and the pharmacist, "The Return"

    Tad and Loreen aren’t the only ones to get some during Hannah’s first season trip home to Michigan. The show’s protagonist finds herself in bed with a former high school classmate, who doesn’t exactly enjoy it when Hannah puts one of her fingers near his anus. “I’m tight like a baby, right?” Hannah asks at one point. Time to press pause.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Role-Play"

    While it’s not quite a full-on, all-out sex scene, Hannah and Adam’s attempt at role play in Season 3 is certainly an intimate encounter to behold (or not). Hannah dons a blond wig and gets a little too into her role, giving a melodramatic performance that ends with a passerby punching Adam in the face. So there’s that.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and Ray, "Together"

    As Shoshanna and Ray near the end of their relationship, we can see their sexual chemistry getting worse and worse. It’s no more evident than when Ray is penetrating a clothed and visibly horrified Shoshanna from behind, who ends the encounter by asking if her partner will just “get out of me.”

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Frank, "Video Games"

    Hannah, Jessa’s 19-year-old stepbrother, a graveyard and too much chatting. Need we say more about how uncomfortable this sex is to watch?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Desi, "Iowa"

    Who gets her butt motorboated? Is this a real thing? Aside from the questionable logistics and reality of Marnie and Desi’s analingus scene, there’s also the awkward moment when Marnie confuses her partner’s declaration of love for licking her butthole with love for her. Oh, Marnie.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Vagina Panic"

    There is too much in this scene to dissect: fantasies of an 11-year-old girl with a Cabbage Patch lunchbox, excessive references to that little girl as a “slut” and Adam ripping off a condom to ejaculate on Hannah’s chest. No wonder it ends with Hannah saying she almost came.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>