|Friday Demonstration in solidarity with Aleppo University Students
Syria: Blasts, killings, protests continue over Friday in solidarity with the Aleppo University Students
(Omar al-Shaar | Dp-news)
SYRIA- Syrians demonstrate on Friday across Syria in solidarity with the Aleppo University Students demonstrators. Syrian anti-regime activists called for Friday protests under the slogan, "heroes of Aleppo University", in solidarity with students in the northern city who demonstrated there the day before despite brutal repression.
Tensions boiled in Syria's two largest cities Friday as violence erupted in Aleppo as Syrian Students in the northern city had demonstrated on campus demanding the fall of Bashar Al-Assad's regime on Thursday as UN observers visited to oversee a ceasefire, largely ignored for a month, according to activists.
The city of Aleppo, the most populous in Syria, is widely considered a stronghold of President Bashar al-Assad.
"Thousands of students from various faculties came out of their classes when the UN observers arrived and shouted slogans calling for the fall of the regime," a Syrian activist Mohammed Halabi told AFP in Beirut in a telephone call on Thursday.
“Thousands of people demonstrated in various districts (of Aleppo) despite the repression,” said Rami Abdel Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
“These are the most important events in Aleppo since the beginning of the revolt,” he told AFP in Beirut.
A bomb apparently targeted security forces in Aleppo early Friday, killing one soldier and wounding five others, according to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Besides Aleppo, protests demanding to topple the regime of President al-Assad also took place in Damascus, Deir Ezzor in the east, northeastern Hasaka, Homs in central Syria, and northwestern Idlib, said the Britain-based Observatory.
In Damascus province, heavy gunfire was reported near the town of Harasta, while the army suffered casualties in an attack on a military checkpoint at the town of Daryya.
Syria`s regime forces opened fire on anti-government protesters as they attempted to break up a demonstration that began after dawn prayers in Aleppo, according to the Local Coordination Committees of Syria (LCCS), an opposition network that counts casualties and organizes anti-government protests.
Syria`s regime forces also opened fire at anti-government protesters in the cities of Daraa, Jasem and Boukamal, the LCCS said. There were also reports of security forces shelling the beleaguered opposition stronghold of al-Rastan in Homs province, the LCCS added.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, in turn, reported countrywide mass protests demanding the downfall of the regime.
At least 22 people died in Syria on Friday, according to the LCCS. The deaths occurred in the provinces of Homs, Hama, Idlib, Daraa, Aleppo, Damascus and the Damascus countryside, according to International press reports abroad.
Press reports used to indicate that they cannot independently verify reports of deaths and violence because the Syrian government has severely restricted access by international media.
On the other hand, Syrian government said its forces foiled a suicide bomb attack in Aleppo on Friday. A group of terrorists detonated an explosive device near al-Shaar roundabout while it was being dismantled by members of a military engineering unit, according to Syria state-run news agency SANA.
Syrian authorities disrupted Friday two explosion attempts by booby-trapped cars in eastern Dier al-Zour province and a suburb of the capital Damascus, SANA reported.
An explosive-laden vehicle, loaded with 600 kgs of explosives, was caught by Syrian authorities at the Damascus' suburb of Mlaiha, said the report, adding that the car had been set to be remotely detonated.
Another booby-trapped car driven by "terrorists" was caught by the authorities before it could explode, the report said, adding that the assailants have been arrested.
A third explosive device went off in Barzeh district of Damascus Friday, injuring unspecified number of people, one of whom in grave condition, Xinhua reported.
Witnesses told Xinhua that the explosive device was hidden in a phone booth in the area, adding that women and children are among the injured.
The Syrian competent authorities, also on Friday, have seized amounts of weapons and explosive devices at a den for terrorists in Deir al-Ateq neighborhood in Deir Ezzour city, according to SANA.
SANA on Friday reported that teams of the UN observer mission mandated to monitor the ceasefire in Syria at Daraya in Damascus Countryside, al-Jbeileh and al-Joureh in Deir Ezzor province, and al-Khaldieh, al-Qusour, al-Baiyadeh and the National Hospital in Homs.
On Thursday, UN observers visited Douma, Daraya and Zabadani in Damascus Countryside, Aleppo, Idleb, and al-Khalidieh, Akramh and al-Hadareh streets in the city of Homs. They met a number of families in these areas, according to SANA.
SANA added that the Central Judicial Committee tasked Idleb's Judicial Sub-Committee to investigate the reality about the event which the UN Observers faced at Khan Sheikhoun and to send as soon as possible the results of its investigations to the Central Committee.
SANA also reported that twenty-nine persons from Homs province who were involved in the recent events in the country but did not commit crimes turned themselves in to the authorities on Friday.
Having handed in their weapons, the persons were released after pledging not to take up arms again or commit any sabotage acts or do anything that could affect Syria's security in the future, according to SANA.
On Thursday, other 95 persons whose hands are clear of the Syrian blood handed in their weapons to the authorities in Homs, Damascus Countryside and Tartous, SANA added.
International Press Reports on Friday indicated that although there have been a number of demonstrations in Aleppo since the Syrian uprising began, the number of people publicly calling for al-Assad's ouster has increased significantly. In an outpouring Thursday, thousands purportedly took to the streets, calling for an end to the regime.
The increase in demonstrations in Aleppo comes at a critical time for both sides, which are vying for international support in the conflict that began in March 2011 with protests calling for political reforms and quickly devolved into an armed uprising after a brutal crackdown by President Bashar al-Assad's regime forces.
Opposition groups, including members of the rebel army, say President al-Assad's government has been trying to hamper their efforts by accusing them falsely of links to terrorists.
Syria`s President Bashar al-Assad has dismissed the opposition as foreign-backed terrorists bent on destabilizing the government.
There has been a string of attacks in recent months in the power centers of Damascus and Aleppo.
Such incidents have heightened concerns about the possibility of jihadists operating in the country. One group, called the Al Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant, has claimed credit for suicide attacks in Syria.
The reports of Syria`s violence have cast severe doubts on the success of the peace plan brokered by Annan.
On Friday, Spokesman for the UN observer mission Hassan Saqlawi told the UPI agency "The military advisor to the UN Secretary General, the Senegalese Lieutenant-General Babacar Gaye , arrived in Damascus on Friday.
Saqlawi added that the visit lasts for 3 days during which he meets the Head of the UN observer mission in Syria, Maj. Gen. Robert Mood.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Thursday said that 9,000 to 10,000 people have been killed during the crisis. Activists have said the death toll is higher.