6 civilians killed, demos in Damascus and Aleppo: NGO

AFP, Friday 25 May 2012

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said six civilians were killed by regime forces as democracy activists demonstrate in Damascus and Aleppo in support of the rebel Free Syrian Army

Demonstrators hold Syrian opposition and Kurdish flags during a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Qubani, near Aleppo May 21, 2012.

Syrian regime forces killed six civilians on Friday, as democracy activists took to the streets of Damascus and Aleppo, Syria's two largest cities, a monitoring group reported.

In the central province of Hama, four people were killed early Friday by regime forces, including three teenagers, as they guarded their farm in the village of Chizar, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, citing activists.

A fifth person reportedly died in the Sabounie district of the provincial capital.

An unspecified number of army soldiers were also wounded in clashes with deserters that erupted in Sahl al-Ghab, in the same region, the Observatory said.

In the southern province of Daraa, the birthplace of the Syrian uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, a civilian was reportedly killed in an ambush on the road to Saida.

Democracy activists meanwhile called for demonstrations on Friday under the slogan: "Our next rendezvous, Damascus," reflecting their desire to intensify their activities in the Syrian capital, despite the heavy presence there of security agents.

Protests were reported at dawn in at least five residential neighbourhoods in Damascus in support of the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA), made up largely of dissidents from the regular army, and calling for Assad's downfall.

"Al-Tadamon neighbourhood will not bend," read one placard, while in Tabbale, the protesters called on "the Sheikhs of Damascus to distance themselves from the regime," according to videos posted by activists on the Internet.

"The Free Syrian Army, make the shabiha cowards flee," read another placard in the pro-rebel neighbourhood of Al-Assali, referring to the paramilitary supporters of the Syrian regime.

On Thursday, violence across Syria left 34 people dead, including 24 civilians, one deserter and nine soldiers, according to the Observatory.

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