Six Protesters Killed in Syria
New York Times
22-Mar-2011 (one comment)

DAMASCUS, Syria — At least six people were killed early Wednesday when Syrian security forces attacked protesters who had taken refuge in a mosque in the center of the southern city of Dara’a, Reuters reported.

On Tuesday, antigovernment protests had continued for a fifth day in Dara’a, before hundreds of demonstrators sought protection from the army in the Omari mosque. The protesters were calling for political freedoms and an end to corruption, and they had said they would remain in the mosque until their demands were met, Reuters reported.

“They are shooting,” a person at the mosque said by telephone, referring to the soldiers and other security forces. “Killing and killing and more killing.”

A doctor at the city’s main hospital, Ali Nassab al-Mahameed, was shot and killed as he was trying to rescue others, the witness said. It was not known how many people were wounded in the attack.

“It seems that security forces may be trying to storm the complex,” a resident told Reuters. “It is not clear because electricity has been cut off. Tear gas is also being used.”

The mosque’s preacher, Ahmad Siasneh, told Al Arabiya television on Tuesday that Syrian forces were close to the building’s grounds, where protesters had erected tents.

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