Violence escalated in the southern Syrian city of Deraa as protests entered their sixth day, and on Wednesday, fifteen protesters were shot dead. Security forces opened fire on anti-government protesters at three different locations around the city, including a mosque and a funeral. Human-rights organizations said the government has been rounding up demonstrators and activists. And yesterday, the government arrested Mazen Darwish, the head of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression. "The government promised it would consider its citizens' demands, and then it decided to attack them," said Mohammed al-Abdullah, a Syrian activist in exile. "These were fully prepared and full-scale attacks. ... "By using such disproportionate violence against its own citizens, neither the government nor the people can be expected to negotiate." The government blamed the violence on "outside perpetrators."
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