Syrian forces open fire on protesters


Free Syrian Army members from the al-Faruq Brigade carry the body of one of their comrades to the Khaled Ibn al-Walid mosque for his funeral in the al-Khalidiyah neighbourhood of the central Syrian city of Homs on May 3, 2012. The UN admitted a shaky three-week-old truce in Syria is not holding but said the number of observers would be doubled within days.



Violence in Syria continued as security forces reportedly opened fire on protesters in various area on Friday, according to AFP.

CNN reported that at least 33 people were killed in Idlib, Hama, Homs, Aleppo and other areas, according to the opposition activist group Local Coordination Committees of Syria. Government forces used gunfire, snipers and shelling, according to the LCC. The reports are not independently verified.

The Associated Press reported that at least one teenager was killed in protests in Aleppo on Friday, following a raid on the previous day which had claimed four students' lives.

Activist Mohammed Saeed said the protests were the largest in Aleppo since the start of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011.

The AP noted that the raid on Aleppo University, which sparked the protests, was unusual for a city that had largely remained loyal to Assad.

The protesters shouted, "With our blood, we sacrifice for you students!"

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The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said government forces opened fire to disperse people demonstrating against the Assad regime in two districts of the city of Hama and in another town in the province, according to AFP.

The nationwide protests were called for by opposition activists under the slogan "Our commitment (to the revolution) is our salvation," according to AFP.

Harrowing reports from Amnesty International suggest that Syrian forces executed scores of opposition sympathizers in Idlib, burning their bodies and torching their homes, according to the Guardian.

Idlib residents spoke to an Amnesty official last month, telling of regular house sweeps by troops and Assad loyalists, searching for dissenters to kill.

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Meanwhile, amid the continuing violence, a spokesman for international mediator Kofi Annan said the peace plan negotiated last month was "on track," according to Al Jazeera. Ahmad Fawzi said on Friday that negotiations were being "conducted under the radar."

Speaking at a United Nations briefing in Geneva, Fawzi said, "A crisis that has been going on for more than a year is not going to be resolved in a day or a week," according to Al Jazeera.

On Thursday, the White House expressed its frustration, with press secretary Jay Carney saying, "if the regime's intransigence continues, the international community is going to have to admit defeat," according to the AP.

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