Violent protests have broken out again in Syria with reports that security forces killed a number of anti-government protesters. Thousands took to the streets again, including ethnic Kurds who feel discriminated against.
Anti-government protests have erupted again
Anti-government protests flared up again in several towns across Syria on Friday with reports that at least 22 protesters were killed in the southern town of Daraa.
Witnesses said security forces opened fire on thousands of demonstrators who had gathered in Daraa after Friday prayers to protest against President Bashar al-Assad's autocratic rule.
There were further reports of unrest from the western city of Homs and in Harasta, a suburb of the capital Damascus.
Meanwhile, thousands of ethnic Kurds took to the streets calling for reforms despite Assad's overture to them earlier this week, offering to make it easier for Kurds to assume Syrian citizenship.
More than 70 people have been killed in the protests since they broke out last month. The protesters are calling for substantial political reforms, including the repeal of emergency law, which has been in place for over 40 years, allowing the leadership to make arbitrary arrests and crack down on dissidents.
In an effort to appease the protesters, Assad has ordered a panel to look into drafting a new anti-terrorism law that would replace emergency rule, however critics say the new legislation would essentially grant the government the same powers.
Author: Rob Mudge (Reuters, AFP, dpa)
Editor: Nicole Goebel