In Syria, Forces Open Fire On Demonstrators

Originally published on May 27, 2011 6:06 pm
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MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

Foreign media are barred from Syria, so NPR's Peter Kenyon is following the story from neighboring Beirut.

PETER KENYON: Unidentified Group: (Foreign language spoken)

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KENYON: Unidentified Group: (Foreign language spoken)

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KENYON: In southern Daraa province, birthplace of the anti-regime protests more than two months ago, the violence started overnight as people took to their rooftops to cry Allah Akbar - God is great. Witnesses and rights groups say at least four people were shot and killed after those cries began to ring out. The rooftop protests are reminiscent of the cries from Iranian protesters in 2009, after disputed elections returned President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power.

A: Unidentified Man: (Through Translator) At 2 o'clock this morning, people were calling to God from the rooftops. The voices were very loud; the whole city was hearing it. People were saying: God, Syria, freedom, and that's enough.

KENYON: He said 3- to 4,000 people demonstrated in Ain Arab today. He asked that his name not be used, saying that the regime was starting to terrorize families in an effort to intimidate leaders of the protests.

NORRIS: (Through Translator) In my case, they took my father in an effort to pressure me to turn myself in. I warned Bashar that if he doesn't leave my father alone, we're going to prosecute him for his father's crimes. Hafez al-Assad committed massacres that everyone in Syria knows about.

KENYON: Unidentified Group: (Foreign language spoken)

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KENYON: Peter Kenyon, NPR News, Beirut. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.