Syrian Security Forces Open Fire on Thousands of Protesters Gathered in Town Square

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Photo: via Shantal7afana's Twitter

Syrian security forces fired on thousands of protesters gathered overnight in the main square of Homs, a city in western Syria. Demonstrators were there to protest the violent crackdown that killed fourteen on Sunday and, according to activists, at least 25 on Monday. Security forces had given protesters until 2:30 a.m. to clear the square, but gunfire was reported before 2:15 a.m. Protests renewed in Homs as well as Damascus, Daraa, and Lattakia as the opposition rejected concessions outlined by President Bashar al-Assad Saturday. Assad's security forces fired in the air Monday afternoon, but the crowds refused to disperse. Activists were calling the square “Tahrir” — both the word for liberation in Arabic and the name of the square in Cairo where an uprising helped depose another autocrat, Hosni Mubarak. Syria's interior ministry tried to classify the opposition as an "armed insurrection" of jihadists whose "objective is to spread terror across Syria." But the activists were unarmed. They had organized themselves to sleep in shifts, and eyewitnesses told Al Jazeera that protesters were shot while sleeping.

Watch protesters fleeing the square as bullets ricochet around Homs:


Security Forces Fire on Protesters in Restive Syrian City [NYT]
Gunfire in locked-down Syrian city [Al Jazeera English]
Syrian security forces open fire on protesters [Storyful]