Hundreds of Syrians rally for 13-year-old boy “killed by security” (M&G)
(M&G) Cairo/Damascus – Hundreds of Syrians took to the streets in the southern city of Daraa on Saturday, to protest against the death of a 13-year-old boy who activists charge was killed after he was taken by security forces.
Hamza al-Kahtib’s body was returned to his family almost a month after he disappeared. Videos posted online with disturbing images of the body showed signs of physical abuse.
Activists said the body had signs of burns and torture, showing he was ‘tortured in one of Syria‘s security branches,’ activists said.
Some of al-Khatib‘s relatives were arrested early Saturday, activists added.
According to human rights groups, an estimated 1,100 people have been killed since the demonstrations calling for greater freedoms, political reforms and the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad began in March.
Security forces have allegedly used live ammunition and force against demonstrators. Authorities also use the Shabiha, a local Syrian term for thugs, who are loyal to the government, to disperse protests.
In the southern Hauran Plain, several people were detained in al-Harak town, after over 30 tanks besieged it and prevented anyone from entering or leaving, activists added.
Forces meanwhile withdrew from the town of Dael as they headed towards al-Harak and the surrounding towns.
In Arbeen, on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, hundreds attended the funeral procession of a protester who was killed on Friday, as they chanted ‘God is great.’
‘We have been under siege since last Thursday and thugs have been deployed to city entrances and snipers have taken over the rooftops,’ an eyewitness from the nearby town of Harasta told the Avaaz rights group.
He said that on Friday all internet and phone communications were cut.
At least 9 people were killed when thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators took to the streets on Friday in several Syrian cities, as they have been for weeks, calling for al-Assad’s ouster.
Al-Assad took office in 2000, following the death of his father, president Hafiz al-Assad, who had ruled Syria for 29 years.
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