And as with everything else in Syria, once again, Bashar al-Assad's regime is cracking down on protesters despite claiming that they lifted the 40+ year old emergency law.
Syrian security forces fired live bullets and tear gas Friday at tens of thousands of people shouting for freedom and democracy, wounding about 10 people on a day that could be a major test of whether President Bashar Assad's promises of sweeping reform will quell the monthlong uprising.The Syrian regime isn't satisfied with simply dispersing protests; they want them crushed and the use of live ammunition adds to the fear that protesters feel when they take to the streets demanding reform from the autocratic regime.
Protesters flooded into the streets after prayers Friday in at least five major areas across the country.
"The people want the downfall of the regime!" shouted protesters in Douma, a Damascus suburb where some 40,000 people took to the streets, witnesses said. It is the same rallying cry that was heard during the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia.
Security forces opened fire in Douma and in the central city of Homs, according to eyewitnesses. At least four people were wounded in Douma and seven in Homs, the witnesses said.
Other massive protests were reported in the coastal city of Banias, the northeastern Kurdish region and the southern city of Daraa, where the uprising kicked off more than a month ago.
The protest movement has crossed a significant threshold in recent days, with increasing numbers now seeking the downfall of the regime, not just reforms. The security crackdown has only emboldened protesters, who are enraged over the deaths of more than 200 people over five weeks.
There will be a real measure of reform if Assad's regime stops detaining, torturing, and murdering opposition to his regime. Even better would be for Assad and his odious regime to disappear into the dustbin of history as he and his father's regime have caused untold misery throughout the region.
CBS News is reporting 15 killed at the hands of Syrian security during today's protests.
Witnesses say at least 15 Syrian protesters have been killed during clashes with security forces.Meanwhile, MSNBC is reporting 27 killed and as many as 44 unconfirmed deaths in the latest crackdown by Assad's regime.
Security forces fired live bullets and tear gas Friday at tens of thousands of people shouting for freedom and democracy in several areas across the country.
Witnesses said they saw at least five corpses at the Hamdan hospital outside the capital. All suffered gunshot wounds.
In the southern province of Daraa, other witnesses said at least 10 people were killed when protesters marched in front of the mayor's office. They said an 11-year-old boy was among the dead.