News / Middle East

More Deaths in Continuing Syrian Protests

Syrian soldiers at a checkpoint northeast of Damascus, Aug. 29, 2011.
Syrian soldiers at a checkpoint northeast of Damascus, Aug. 29, 2011.

Protests took place in several dozen Syrian towns and cities Friday, despite government attempts to prevent demonstrators from congregating after prayers.  At least eight people died and dozens were wounded after security forces opened fire on demonstrators.

Opposition activists say Syrian security forces deployed outside a mosque in the country's third largest city of Homs Friday, trapping worshippers inside.

Throughout the country, protesters chanted slogans calling for the downfall of President Bashar al-Assad.  Videos on pan-Arab satellite channels showed demonstrations in several locations.

Syrian government state television accused the satellite media of "inventing protests."  It showed footage of an empty street saying residents from one outlying village had "gone home for the weekend."

Hilal Khashan, who teaches political science at the American University of Beirut, says Syria is at a stalemate as demonstrations and the government backlash continue.

"The key to breaking the deadlock in the Syrian situation is the perspective of the international community," said Khashan.  "The international community is changing its position vis-à-vis the regime in Syria in a very slow and calculated manner."

Despite a failure in the United Nations this week to impose more economic sanctions on Syria, unilateral U.S. and European Union sanctions appear to be biting.  And the West promises more sanctions to come.

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