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Tuesday, 07 April 2020

Al-Assad mobilises supporters, cracks down on children protesters

Pro-regime rally in Syria attracts thousands, as several more victims are killed in the ongoing violence, and 60 school children are reportedly arrested for holding a protest

AFP , Tuesday 1 Nov 2011
People attend a rally to show support for Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Deir al-Zour city, Tuesday, (Photo: AP).
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Thousands of Syrians staged a rally in support of embattled President Bashar al-Assad in eastern Syria on Tuesday, state television said, as activists reported a counter rally in the same area.

Meanwhile four people were killed on Tuesday in violence in the protests-wracked country, including an army officer and a soldier who were shot dead by gunmen in the northwestern Idlib province, a rights watchdog reported.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported that dozens of civilians were arrested on Tuesday, including 60 school children detained for holding an anti-regime protest in their schoolyard.

Tuesday's victims included two civilians, one killed in Idlib province by security forces and the second when pro-regime militiamen opened fire in central Homs. An 18-year-old man also died on Tuesday of gunshot wounds from the previous day in the Damascus suburb of Douma.

State television aired a broadcast showing thousands of people rallying in support of Assad in the eastern town of Deir Ezzor, waving flags and carrying portraits of the president.

They chanted slogans of praise for Assad, who is under mounting international and Arab pressure to end a brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protesters which the UN says has claimed more than 3,000 lives since mid-March.

The Observatory said security forces fired with live rounds on a rival protest in Deir Ezzor.

The Arab League, of which Syria is a member, has proposed a plan to end the bloodletting, calling for tanks to be withdrawn from streets and the start of a dialogue between opposition figures and the regime.

Syria was due to give a response on Monday, after talks in Qatar between an Arab task force and Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem but the latter has asked for some changes to the proposals, a diplomat told AFP in Cairo.

"There has been agreement on some minor amendments, but the Arab delegation demanded a final response on Tuesday to the Arab proposal," the diplomat told AFP.

The pro-government daily Al-Watan said Syria's leadership was holding consultations on Tuesday concerning the Arab plan.

Meanwhile security forces on Tuesday pressed on with the crackdown, arresting dozens of people in the southern province of Daraa -- cradle of the popular dissent that has shaken the Assad regime since March 15, the Observatory said.

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