Tuesday, October 21, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Thousands of protesters demand reform in Syria

By
April 15, 2011 |

BEIRUT (AP) — Tens of thousands of people chanting “Freedom!” held protests in several Syrian cities Friday, demanding far greater reforms than the limited concessions offered by President Bashar Assad over the past four weeks, witnesses said.

The largest protests were on the outskirts of the capital, Damascus, and in the southern city of Daraa, which has become the epicenter of the protest movement. Witnesses said there were up to 50,000 people outside the capital and 10,000 in Daraa.

There was no immediate sign of army and security services in Daraa — a stark change from previous weeks, when Syrian forces fired tear gas and live bullets at the protesters.

Protesters were shouting for an end to the decades-old emergency laws, which allow the regime a free hand to arrest people without charge. Lifting the state of emergency has been a key demand of the protesters.

In central Damascus, hundred of regime supporters marched near the historic Umayyad mosque, carrying pictures of Assad and chanting “Our souls, our blood we sacrifice for you Bashar.”

It was impossible to independently verify the witness accounts because Syria has placed tight restrictions on media coverage, preventing access to trouble spots and expelling journalists.

The monthlong protest movement in Syria has steadily gathered momentum as tens of thousands of people demand sweeping reforms in Assad’s authoritarian regime. More than 200 people have been killed during the government crackdown on protesters, according to Syria’s main pro-democracy group.

Last Friday was the deadliest day since protests began with 37 people killed, most of them in Daraa.

Videos posted online showed hundreds of protesters marching in the predominantly Kurdish city of Qamishli in northeastern Syria, shouting “Azadi!” the Kurdish word for freedom. In Kisweh, a Damascus suburb, footage showed protesters shouting “the people want to topple the regime!” — a slogan used during the demonstrations in Egypt and Tunisia.

The footage could not be independently confirmed.

Human Rights Watch issued a report Friday saying Syrian security and intelligence agencies have detained and tortured hundreds of protesters during a month of demonstrations.

“There can be no real reforms in Syria while security forces abuse people with impunity,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “President Assad needs to rein in his security services and hold them to account for arbitrary arrests and torture.”

Syria’s government and its state-run media have sought to cast the unrest as a foreign conspiracy perpetrated by armed gangs targeting security forces and civilians. Reform activists, however, say their movement is peaceful.

Assad has tried to calm the protests with promises of reform, such as forming committees to look into replacing the emergency laws and freeing detainees. But the protesters say the gestures are not nearly enough.

Also Friday, a Syrian journalist told The Associated Press he was set free after 16-day detention during which he was whipped and beaten. The journalist said he was set free shortly before midnight Thursday.

The journalist, who asked that his name not be made public, said he saw some 200 detainees being freed from the detention center where he was held.

The unrest in Syria could have ripple effects across the region, given the country’s role as Iran’s top Arab ally and as a front line state against Israel.

The Obama administration said Thursday that Iran appears to be helping Syria crack down on protesters, calling it a troubling example of Iranian meddling in the region and an indication that Assad isn’t interested in real reform.

Syria’s Foreign Ministry denied the U.S. claims saying they are saying it is untrue.

“If the State Department has evidence why aren’t they made public,” an unnamed foreign ministry official was quoted by state-run news agency SANA as saying.

___

By Bassem Mroue

Associated Press writer Zeina Karam contributed to this report.

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

.

News

 
So much more than a cute baby store

By Bob Schultz | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Suspected arson fires worry neighbors, firefighters

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Winters homicide case enters jury-selection phase

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1

 
Fill the Boot for the hungry

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

Existing home sales rise in September

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
For the record

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

Democrats love seeing minimum wage on the ballot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Pets of the week

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Apply now for community mediation training

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Paws for Thought: Pets for Vets: matches made in heaven

By Evelyn Dale | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
‘Tokyo Kill’ author will visit bookstore

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

Sierra Club gathers for morning walks

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
DPNS has play group, preschool openings

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Yolo Knitters Guild plans fall meetings

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Local farm products found at hospital market

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Tax tips offered for sole proprietors

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Beer dinner set on Co-op patio

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Walkin’ the Dawg through the park

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
 
Essay contest winners will be honored Tuesday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Volunteers sought to make veggie bags

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Library hosts after-hours teen movie nights

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

First-time home buyers get free advice

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Psychiatric clinic hosts open house

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Forum eyes impacts of raising the local minimum wage

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
NAMI-Yolo family support group meets Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

To save the birds, look to the fish

By Kat Kerlin | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Birding field trip planned Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12 | Gallery

.

Forum

Ready to go, whatever happens

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Where there’s a will …

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

She’s innovative, passionate

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
An accidental fan becomes a baseball devotee

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

U.N. steps up to lead Ebola response

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
John Cole cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A8

These three are the best

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Sunder has bold vision

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

Archer, Nolan are my picks

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
.

Sports

Villegas wonderstrike powers Devils

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
DHS golfers take the title

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Devil defense regresses in football loss

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1

 
UCD’s Wegener is the engine that drives the train

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Sports briefs: Top-end tennis talent helps DHS girls grab a win

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Junior Blue Devils: Regular slate ends with 2 Davis teams playoff bound

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

After running the gridiron gauntlet, can UCD regroup?

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
.

Features

.

Arts

 
Stories on Stage Davis presents tales by Lescroart, Montieth

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Peggy Belenis Swisher

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Tuesday, October 21, 2014 (set 1)

By Creator | From Page: B5

 
Comics: Tuesday, October 21, 2014 (set 2)

By Creator | From Page: B7