AMMAN, (Reuters) – Syrian forces shot dead at least 20 protesters yesterday, activists said, as tens of thousands demanded the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad, chanting “we will kneel only to God”.
Defiant protest marches unfolded across the country despite a military crackdown that has intensified since the beginning of the fasting month of Ramadan, triggering sanctions and condemnation abroad.
These included protests in the cities of Hama and Deir al-Zor, both of which have been stormed in tank offensives launched by Assad at the beginning of the Muslim holy month.
“Assad wants to finish off the uprising before international pressure becomes too much for him. But people have gone out of almost every major mosque in Deir al-Zor, metres away from tanks that occupy every main square and roundabout,” a resident said.