Syria’s Assad sacks Hama governor after protests

BEIRUT  (Reuters) – President Bashar al-Assad sacked the governor of Hama province yesterday, a day after tens of thousands of protesters massed in the provincial capital to demand the Syrian leader step down.

The demonstration in Hama, scene of a bloody crackdown by Assad’s father nearly 30 years ago, was part of nationwide protests which activists said were some of the biggest since the uprising against Assad’s rule erupted 14 weeks ago.

The protests took place while Assad’s troops, backed by tanks and helicopters, pursued a military campaign in the northwestern province of Idlib where a prominent rights lawyer said 14 villagers were killed on Friday.

Another 10 people were shot dead by security forces who confronted demonstrators in the central city of Homs, Damascus suburbs and the Mediterranean city of Latakia, activists said.

State news agency SANA agency said Assad issued a decree dismissing Ahmad Khaled Abdulaziz, governor of Hama province, without giving details.

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