#Syria on Tue braced for the start of ‘Martyrs Week’, a series of rallies organised by a FB group
“The Week of the Martyrs will be a thorn in the regime’s side,” the organisers of Facebook group Syrian Revolution 2011 said, designating Tuesday as the first day of protests focused on coastal towns “far from the capital”.
Officials have put the death toll at closer to 30, blaming the violence on “armed” groups and foreign interference seeking to divide a country that has long prided itself on the co-existence of different religions and ethnic groups.
“We announced (the protests) as peaceful and insist on that,” said Syrian Revolution 2011, which has garnered more than 100,000 supporters online and proved a persistent motor of anti-regime rallies.
President Bashar al-Assad, who is facing a domestic crisis unprecedented in 11 years of rule, has made a string of gestures hinting at change but has failed to appease protesters who are demanding greater freedom and political reforms.
A new governor was appointed on Monday to the Syrian protest hub of Daraa, where dozens died in protests marred by violence, while a newspaper said a commission probing fatalities in protest centres will wrap up its work by Friday.