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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

At Least Seven Die in Syria’s Protest Crackdown

RIA Novosti

01:30 14/04/2012

MOSCOW, April 14 (RIA Novosti) - At least seven people were killed in various Syrian cities during opposition protests on Friday, Arab media reported citing opposition sources.

The opposition’s “coordination committee” said the protestors were killed when security forces opened fire at protestors in the cities of Hama, Idlib, Deraa and on the outskirts of the capital Damascus. An unknown number of protestors were arrested.

The protests began a day after the ceasefire agreement between the government and the opposition came into effect at 6:00 local time on Thursday. Some opposition groups called on “all Syrians” to attend mass demonstrations on Friday.

“There is no justification for those who abstain from taking part in demonstrations. If you want to stop murders - take to the streets. If you want to stop the destruction of your cities - take to the streets. If you want an end to the Assad dynasty rule - take to the streets,” an opposition website reads.

Another opposition website posted a photo of Damascus with a slogan: “City squares are waiting for you, heroes.”

The head of the Syrian National Council, Burhan Ghalioun, earlier said that “the right for peaceful demonstrations is the main point of the UN and Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan.”

The six-point plan to resolve the current political crisis in Syria, proposed by Annan and approved by the UN Security Council, includes a pullback of troops from the cities, a halt to fighting, the release of unjustly arrested people, and respect for the people's right to peaceful protest and for press freedom.

The Syrian Interior Ministry said, in its turn, that opposition protests are allowed only after organizers secure permissions from the authorities.

Some 9,000 people have been killed in clashes between the government and the opposition in Syria since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011, according to UN estimates.

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