News / Middle East

At Least 13 Killed at Syria Protests

At Least 13 Killed at Syria Protests
At Least 13 Killed at Syria Protests

Activists say Syrian security forces killed at least 13 people in anti-government protests on Friday.

They say forces used live ammunition on demonstrators in areas including Damascus suburbs and the flashpoint central province of Homs.

Activists took to the streets under the banner of "death rather than humiliation" as they renewed calls for President Bashar al-Assad's resignation.

One rally took place outside of the home of Adnan Bakkour, the attorney general for Hama province.

In a video released Wednesday, Bakkour said he resigned to protest the government's deadly crackdown on dissent.  The Syrian government says Bakkour was kidnapped and made that statement under duress.

Witnesses said security forces surrounded some mosques Friday in an effort to prevent protesters from taking to the streets after midday prayers.

Meanwhile, the European Union has banned oil imports from Syria.  The EU said Friday the move is designed to increase pressure on President Assad for his crackdown on dissent.

The United Nations estimates 2,200 people have been killed since March in the Syrian government's crackdown on dissent. However, Syria has blamed much of the deadly violence on armed gangs and "terrorists."

The state-run SANA news agency said Friday that two "terrorists" had confessed to giving false information and videos to al-Jazeera television network concerning recent unrest.

Separately, France announced Friday that it is working to develop contacts with Syria's opposition.

The U.S. and Britain have demanded strict new international sanctions to force Assad from office.

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

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