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Dozens Killed in Syria

1:17 PM, Apr 22, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Al Jazeera reports:

As many as 70 people were reported to have been killed in Syria on the bloodiest day of the uprising, as security forces use live ammunition and tear gas to quell anti-government protests across the country.

Activists sent a list naming 70 people from across the country who they said had been killed by security forces during the "Great Friday" protests.

Fifteen of the deaths took place in Izraa, near the flashpoint southern town of Daraa, according to the list. One person was killed in Damascus, where security forces also fired tear gas to disperse protesters, other sources confirmed.

This was the first death at the hands of security forces in the capital since the uprising against the government of Bashar al-Assad began.

Deaths were also reported in the Damascus suburb of Douma, as well as in Homs, Syria's third largest city, and in Daraa and other towns.

The New York Times reports:

Security forces in Syria fired tear gas and live ammunition Friday to disperse thousands of demonstrators who took to the streets of Damascus and at least 10 other towns and cities after noon prayers, according to protesters, witnesses and accounts posted on social networking sites. Twenty-four people were killed, they said, though it was not possible to immediately verify that toll.

The breadth of the protests — and people’s willingness to defy security forces who deployed en masse — painted a tableau of turmoil in one of the Arab world’s most repressive countries. In scenes unprecedented only weeks ago, protesters tore down pictures of PresidentBashar al-Assad and toppled statues of his father, Hafez, in two towns on the capital’s outskirts, according to witnesses and video footage.

In the capital, a city that underlines the very prestige of the Assad family’s four decades of rule, hundreds gathered after prayers at Al Hassan Mosque. Some of them chanted, “The people want the fall of the government,” a slogan made famous in Egypt and Tunisia. 

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