7 Syrian policemen killed in Sunday clashes, report


Seven policemen were killed during clashes between the security forces and protesters in Syria, Xinhua reported.They got killed trying to drive away protesters during demonstration in Dara’a town in which people demanded for reforms in Syria, Damascus Press news website reported.

The clashes erupted Sunday between the Syrian police and protesters after two young men reportedly killed by the security forces in the town. An eyewitness told Xinhua that the Syrian police had surrounded the town, to prevent people from entering it.

Dozens of protesters attacked the communication centre and the national hospital.

Al-Jazeera TV reported Sunday that the protesters also burned the headquarters of the Baath Party and the court house in Dara’a.

A committee was formed by the interior ministry to investigate recent incidents and take the necessary measures to punish anyone who is proven responsible for having committed abuse during the incidents in Dara’a.

Syria, a police state known for its brutal suppression of any public protests, seemed immune to the wave of uprisings sweeping the Arab world until the past week, when demonstrations took place in several cities. The southern town of Dara’a, where citizens were outraged by the arrest of more than a dozen schoolchildren, has seen the largest protests by far. Thousands took to the streets on Sunday, as they have for several days now.

Thousands gathered in and around the Omari mosque in Dara’a, chanting their demands: the release of all political prisoners; trials for those who shot and killed protesters; the abolition of Syria’s 48-year emergency law; more freedoms; and an end to pervasive corruption. “No fear after today,” the crowd chanted, according to witnesses and human rights activists.

Even as a group of prominent Dara’a citizens sat down for talks with Mr. Assad’s committee, there was pandemonium in the streets. As the protests grew heated, the police sprayed tear gas, further angering the protesters, who began tearing down a poster of Mr. Assad in the main square of Dara’a. The police then opened fire into the crowd, witnesses said.

Omari Mosque

Protesters soon turned the Omari mosque into a field hospital, as families “feared taking their relatives to the hospital,” according to a human rights activist who spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals.

All roads to Dara’a remained closed on Sunday, and phone and Internet services were cut throughout most of the day.

Small-scale protests also took place Sunday in Damascus and in Quneitra, in the south, but were quickly dispersed by the police.

Hindustantimes, NYT