News / Middle East

Activists Report Clashes in Syria

People protest against President Bashar al-Assad after Friday prayers in the city of Amude, Syria, August 26, 2011
People protest against President Bashar al-Assad after Friday prayers in the city of Amude, Syria, August 26, 2011

Syrian activists say government forces targeted people protesting against Bashar al-Assad's government Saturday, a day after demonstrations ended in deadly violence.

Activists said security forces targeted protesters Saturday in the capital, Damascus, and the coastal city of Latakia.  They also reported sporadic shooting.  It is not clear if there were any casualties.

On Friday, rights groups and activists said security forces shot at protesters in areas that included the Damascus suburb of Douma, Dara'a province in the south and the eastern town of Deir Ezzor. They said at least three people were killed.

However, Syria countered by saying "hooded gunmen" opened fire on law enforcement officers in Deir Ezzor, wounding three officers. The SANA news agency said law enforcement officers responded by shooting and killing two of the gunmen.  The news agency also said "gunmen" attacked a security building in Douma, wounding two guards.

The United Nations says more than 2,000 people have died in Syria during the government crackdown.  President Assad has blamed much of the violence on what he calls armed "gangs" and "terrorists."

Meanwhile, Russia introduced a U.N. resolution on Syria, calling for the Assad government to halt its crackdown on anti-government protesters, but does not mention the sanctions sought by the U.S. and European nations.

The United States, Britain, France, Germany and Portugal days earlier circulated a stronger resolution that calls for sanctions against Assad, influential members of his family and close associates.

The resolution introduced by Russia on Friday called for an immediate end to all violence, but failed to condemn the perpetrators or punish them.

Separately Friday, a U.N. humanitarian team said there is an "urgent need" to protect Syrian civilians from the use of excessive force.

However, the team said there is no countrywide humanitarian crisis in Syria.  The group released the findings after wrapping up a five-day visit to the country.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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