Syrian Troops Open Fire On Demonstrators
Will Syria be immune from the Arab Spring? The regime is perfectly willing to use lethal force (as usual) to stifle dissent. And it's hard to believe President Bashar Assad would cave to anything less than armed rebels beating down his bedroom door.
Still, this latest protest shows that there may be some hope:
Update at 11:17 a.m. ET: Witnesses say Syrian troops opened fire today during a protest in Latakia, the AP reports. It is the first reported clash between security forces and demonstrators since a morning speech by President Bashar Assad, who promised job opportunities and a campaign corruption. Assad also blamed much of last week's popular protests on "conspirators."
Witnesses, who asked to remain unidentified for security reasons, say police opened fire during a protest by about 100 people — although it was not immediately clear whether they were firing in the air or at the protesters, the AP reports.
Update at 11:06 a.m. ET: Al-Jazeera TV reports that Syrian actvists are very disapponted with Assad's speech and have called for more demonstrations after Friday prayers.
Update at 8:28 a.m. ET: President Assad also addressed the violence in Daraa last week in which scores of protesters were killed by security forces.
He said police were under orders not to fire on citizens in the southern city, but that some decisions may have been taken at the spur of the moment amid the chaos.
"It is important to find the reasons and causes and investigate and hold accountable those responsible if there has been actions that led to bloodshed," Assaid said.
At least 61 people have been killed during protests around the country last week.