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Syria: Protests Continue to Gain Momentum

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

Protests continue in Daraa, in the Syrian south, where five protesters have been reportedly killed yesterday and another one today.

While news reports claim that protesters have later on set fire to public buildings, netizens and activists argue that it was the state security forces who have burnt the buildings. Meanwhile, many on Twitter argue that Daraa would be what Sidi Bouzid was for the Tunisians. Sidi Bouzid was the city which sparked the Tunisian revolution which toppled Zeine Al Abdideen Ben Alii's 23-year-rule.

Syria is the latest country to join the wave of erupting protests across the Middle East. While previous calls for protests on February 5 failed, a renewed call to take to the streets on March 15 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.

Here are some reactions from Twitter on the latest developments on the ground:

@razaniyat: Five protesters were murdered thus far in #Daraa by Syrian security forces. We will never forget our martyrs. Never. #Syria

@monaeltahawy: #Assad regime – first father then son – doesn't discriminate in detentions: children and adults jailed. #Syria #Daraa #March15

@daniachebib: #Daraa has a video portal now: http://tinyurl.com/6hl7ebx despite sparse int'l media coverage. THOUSANDS in streets TODAY!! #Syria #March15

@gyonis: The Syrian city of Dara'a is in the south of Syria http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daraa

@AJEnglish: Syria protesters torch buildings: One person killed as demonstrations in the southern city of Daraa continue for… http://aje.me/eVcW14

@Amaterasujp: Crowds have set fire to the courthouse and other buildings on a third straight day of demonstrations in the southern Syrian city of Daraa.

@razaniyat: Haitham Manna’ on France24:Protesters in #Daraa asked me personally 2 confirm that they did not burn any building. News r inaccurate. #Syria

@iyad_elbaghdadi: Baath Party headquarters torched in Syrian city of Daraa. #Syria

@ZsofiaT: Haytham Manna’ on France24: BREAKING: Protesters did NOT burn buildings in #Daraa, security forces did. #Syria

@AhmadHKh: Will #Daraa become to #Syria what #sidibouzid became to #Tunisia ?

@M_akbik: Ppl of Da'el in the suburbs of #Daraa come 2 join protesters Sunday night http://goo.gl/oZe1X #Syria

@BigAlBrand: 15 kids were arrested in #Daraa. All of them are under 15 years old. This is confirmed by the government. #Syria.

@ZetonaXX: Urgent Daraa: Arrival of more than 200 large military cars fall of armed members of the Republican Guard, wearing black!!#syria

@razaniyat: I'm yet 2 hear Azmi Bsraha and Nassralla speak on #Syria n regime's violations of human rights in #Daraa. Or else I'll be very disappointed.

@Memetak: @SyrianJasmine @generativeid Syrian have limited communicatin, many dont know what happens in Daraa, hope tomorrow will be day of freedon

@maher0007: What happened in #Daraa today is utter vandalism either we agree or not, if I'm extending a peaceful hand even if it's fake. #Syria

@NohaZayed: #Syria Revolution page call for protests tomorrow all over Syria 2 support Daraa & to Celebrate Nayrouz bit.ly/guyAyy

@Salman_Shaikh1: # Syria Worried for #Daraa. A tactical retreat by security services to allow for heavier military action? We must watch Daraa area closely.

In this video, by freeknight2011, injured Syrian protesters are seen carried to the inside of a mosque in Daraa.

The following comment is offered:

Footage of the injured protesters being treated inside the Omari Mosque in Daraa, Syria on 20th March 2011. Government forced fired tear gas as well as live and rubber bullets at crowds of thousands of protesters.

This video, from Dael, which is about 15km away from Daraa, shows a night protest there.

Following is the explanation that comes with it:

مجموعة من شباب مدينة داعل (15 كم عن درعا-سوريا)
تتظاهر مناصرة لمظاهرات درعا وهم يهتفون
الله وسوريا وحرية وبس
مافي خوف بعد اليوم
وانطلقت من المساجد بعد استيلائهم على المكروفونات ومطالبتهم
للناس بالنخوة والفزعة لأهالي درعا
وجابت الشوارع الرئيسية في المدينة وتوجهت إلى أطراف البلد حيث يتواجد تمثال الرئيس حافظ الأسد وقاموا
“Youth from Dael (15km away from Daraa) held a protest in support of Daraa, where they chanted: Allah, Syria and Freedom. There is no fear after today. The protests started at mosques after the protesters took the microphones and their demand is that the people rise to support Daraa.
Protesters marched the main streets, then went to the outskirts of the town, where they destroyed a statue for Hafidh Al Assad.”

The Daraa News Channel is also available on YouTube here.

A crowd map, outlining protests, casualties and deaths is also available here (Ar).

Stay tuned for more coverage from Syria.

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

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