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Syria: Protests Across the Country, 6 Reported Killed in Dara'a

This post is part of our special coverage Syria Protests 2011.

Syria is the latest country to join the wave of erupting protests across the Middle East. While previous calls for protests on 5 February failed, a renewed call to take to the streets on 15 March managed to bring several hundred people to the streets in multiple cities including the capital, Damascus, and Aleppo. While the numbers might be small, this constitutes a very important precedent in Syria where anti-government protests are unheard of, and any sign of dissent is squashed with an iron fist.

On 16 March, around 150 protested in front of the Ministry of Interior demanding the release of prisoners of conscience, whose families also took part in the protests. The protesters were violently dispersed and around 38 people were arrested.

The caption reads: '15 March 2011. Free Syria. 48 years of injustice and dictatorship.’

Today, larger protests have occurred across the country. The largest thus far occurred in Dara'a, 100Km(60 Miles) south of the capital Damascus. Deadly force has been used against protesters and reports say that  6 people have been and around 50 are injured.

Syrian blogger @Okbah reports on Twitter:

مصدر دكتور في مستشفى درعا يؤكد لمحمد العبد الله وصول ستة قتلى للمستشفى وخمسين جريحا. والصور قريبا#Syria #Daraa
A doctor in Dara'a Hospital confirms to Mohammad Al Abdallah that six people have arrived dead and 50 wounded. Photos soon.

The following video shows the protest in Dara'a, in which people are chanting “The protector is the thief.”

@Okbah adds:

عشائر درعا تهدد بحرق كل مقار الأمن والجيش في المدينة ان لم يحاسب الرئيس قتلة أبنائها اليوم #Syria #Daraa
The tribes in Dara'a threaten to burn all the headquarters of the army and security forces in the city if the president doesn't hold accountable those who killed the their sons today.

A Syrian activist who goes by the nickname Malath Aumran confirms destruction is already in process:

Call from a friend: attacking on Atef Najeeb office, the chief of political security department in Derra #Syria

From the US, Syrian activist Ammar Abdulhamid said:

#Syria: it's officially a revolution. Clashes هn #Deraa #Homs #Damascus #Banyas#Hassakeh #DeirAzzor #Hama, etc#March15 إنها الثورة

The video below shows fire engines being used to spray protesters with water:

A Syrian Revolution page on Facebook is reporting that several helicopters have been spotted in the skies of Dara'a, and according to them the city is under security lock down and thousands of army forces are deployed. Also according to the page, 6 security forces cars have been burned, and the authorities are trying to hide the bodies of those who were killed in the crackdown.

This image shows a helicopter landing at Daraa's municipal stadium

It's common practice for the security and army forces also to break into hospitals and force doctors to forge the cause of death on death certificates to make the documents say that those who were killed died in traffic accidents.

We will continue reporting on this story as updates become available.

This post is part of our special coverage Syria Protests 2011.

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