International

Update From Syria: 15 Protesters Killed Outside Mosque

Update at 1:55 p.m. ET: The death toll has gone up again. The Associated Press writes that "Syrian police launched a relentless assault Wednesday on a neighborhood sheltering anti-government protesters, fatally shooting at least 15 in an operation that lasted nearly 24 hours, witnesses said."

Update at 1:10 p.m. ET: The Associated Press now reports that witnesses say at least nine people were killed by authorities today when police broke up a protest in the southern Syrian city of Daraa.

Our original post:

From Daraa, Syria, The Associated Press reports that "new violence in a restive southern Syrian city killed as many as six people early Wednesday, making it the deadliest single day since anti-government protests inspired by uprisings across the Arab world reached this country last week, an activist said."

The BBC writes that "at least six people have died after security forces fired on protesters outside a mosque in the Syrian city of Deraa, human rights activists say. Hundreds of people had gathered in the streets outside the Omari mosque to prevent troops from storming it. The mosque has been the focus of anti-government demonstrations — at least 10 people have now been killed in clashes."

The Guardian adds that "those who died included Ali Ghassab al-Mahamid, a doctor from a prominent Deraa family who went to the Omari mosque in the city's old quarter to help victims of the attack, which occurred just after midnight on Wednesday, according to the residents."

As the BBC says, "Syria has clearly joined the growing list of Arab countries being shaken by populist uprisings demanding change and reform. Although the movement there is just starting to stir, President Bashar al-Assad is widely deemed to be facing his gravest internal challenge since he took office in 2000 on the death of his father, Hafiz."

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