Death toll rises to 5 in Banias, scores wounded

At least five people were killed and scores wounded on Sunday according to Syrian Revolution activists, as Syrian security forces kept up their assault on the coastal town of Baniyas, where anti-government protests have gained momentum in recent days, according to eyewitnesses.

“We just want our rights, but unfortunately we live under the thumb of a mafia, and that mafia belongs to Bashar Assad,” said Hamad Orabi, a Baniyas resident, referring to the Syrian president. Orabi blamed armed groups with government ties for the eruption of violence in the city, which continued well into Sunday afternoon as land and mobile phone lines were often blocked.

“There are armed groups, some of them in civilian clothes, but they all belong to the government,” he said. Orabi added that the recent bout of fighting began early Sunday morning following a peaceful march on Saturday night where protesters chanted “the people want to topple the regime,” replacing earlier slogans calling for reform and freedom.

LAT