Fleeing Syrians Speak of Killings, Terror
Those leaving Daraa tell tales of random arrests, snipers on rooftops
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2011 10:13 AM CDT
Syrians carrying their belongings cross the border as they flee violence in Syria, in the Wadi Khaled area, about one kilometer from the Lebanon-Syria border, north Lebanon, on Saturday May 14, 2011.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The uprising in Syria has been marked by bloody, terrifying suppression, with thousands of arbitrary arrests and even government snipers on rooftops. The Washington Post looks at the situation in the center of the unrest—the town of Daraa—as told by those who are fleeing it. One 13-year-old boy was caught videotaping soldiers there; a few days later, they imprisoned his parents. “They said that if I keep quiet and they hear nothing about me for the next four days, then they will release my mother from prison,” said the boy, who walked through 13 miles of forest to leave the city. “If my name comes up, they said they will kill her.”

Thousands have been rounded up and are being held in schools and the city's main stadium, say locals, a figure that has been repeated by human rights groups. "People were being shot in front of me,” said a female student who also fled the town. "There were bodies lying on the streets." The Post reports that unverified video clips of the town show torched homes and cars flattened by tanks. “We are afraid. But I think there is no way back now," said a law student.