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Fresh protests break out in Syria
Damascus, Jun 24 (Agencies):
Published on 24 Jun. 2011 10:21 PM IST
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Protesters have taken to the streets across Syria after Friday prayers, in new rallies against President Bashar al-Assad, activists and witnesses say. One report said security forces had opened fire on protesters in Kiswah, just south of the capital, Damascus.
Meanwhile, the EU has expanded sanctions against Mr Assad’s regime. It added three members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and four Syrians to a list of people whose assets are frozen and who are banned from travel.
The EU’s official journal said the three Revolutionary Guard members now subject to sanctions had been “providing equipment and support to help the Syrian regime suppress protests in Syria”.
The EU also drafted a declaration condemning the “unacceptable and shocking violence the Syrian regime continues to apply on its own citizens”. EU leaders are expected to endorse the declaration later.
More than 1,300 people have been killed and thousands more detained since a crackdown on anti-government protests began in March, activists say. As in previous weeks, activists appealed to Syrians to join demonstrations after Friday prayers.
Syrian refugees tell their stories An appeal on Facebook listed this week’s slogan as: “Bashar is no longer my president and his government no longer represents me.” Thousands of people were reported to have turned out in the Damascus suburb of Irbin, the central cities of Homs and Hama, Deraa in the south, and Qamishli and Deir al-Zour in the east.
The Local Coordination Committees, which monitor the Syrian protest movement, reported military trucks in Damascus suburbs, and said the roads in the centre of Homs had been blocked. Friday’s protests come after President Assad promised dialogue and reform on Monday, in his third address to the nation since the start of demonstrations.
Activists dismissed the offer of reform as cosmetic or insufficient, and clashes broke out between supporters of President Assad and anti-government protesters on Tuesday.
Meanwhile in the north, Turkey said more than 1,500 people had crossed the border from Syria after troops and tanks moved into the Syrian border village of Khirbet al-Jouz.
A total of 11,700 Syrian have sought refuge in Turkey, the Turkish government says.
On Thursday, residents and journalists in the Turkish village Guvecci said they could see military activity across the border.
Activists from the Local Coordinating Committees said snipers were also spotted on roofs.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the reported Syrian troops movements were “very worrisome”.
The Iranians added to the EU list were two Revolutionary Guard commanders, Maj Gen Qasem Soleimani and Brig Cmdr Mohammad Ali Jafari, and the Guard’s deputy commander for intelligence, Hossein Taeb.
EU officials did not give details of the equipment or support they were accused of providing to Syria.

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