Hundreds arrested in Syria sweep: activists
Hundreds of dissidents have been arrested across Syria as dozens were killed in weekend protests, activists said.
Anti-regime activists called for fresh protests aimed at breaking the week-long siege in the Damascus suburb of Douma and the flashpoint town of Deraa, as well as in solidarity with other towns faced with deadly crackdowns.
Six civilians were killed in Deraa on Saturday, a day after massive protests over the Muslim weekend in Syria where rights groups say the civilian death toll has topped 580 since the demonstrations started on March 15.
British prime minister David Cameron denounced Syria’s “disgraceful” crackdown and urged more global pressure against Damascus, although Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu warned against foreign military intervention.
Top officials and Syria’s intelligence services have also had their accounts frozen.
The European Union is preparing a raft of sanctions, including an arms embargo.
“At least 356 people were arrested today across Syria, including in Deraa, Douma, Latakia and Qamishli,” an activist said.
A protest was also held in the coastal city of Latakia and a candlelit vigil in Banias.
Troops in tanks backed by other armoured vehicles cruised Deraa streets yesterday, shooting to keep residents indoors and arresting men aged 15 and over, according to an activist.
“Since early morning, the army and security forces have been combing neighbourhoods one by one and making sweeping arrests. Hundreds have been arrested since Friday,” activist Abdullah Abizad said by telephone.
In Douma, “the army has tightened the siege and has a list of 200 names of people it wants to arrest”, another activist said.
A young man recounted his escape from Douma, which he did at “great risk” using back roads. “It was very difficult and very dangerous. I had to avoid all the checkpoints.”
“People are afraid to leave their homes but they are…… Read more..