Daraa

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Huge Blast Rocks Damascus

Kids dead, Russian embassy damaged

(Newser) - A powerful car bomb exploded in central Damascus today, blowing out the windows of the Russian embassy, and killing at least some children at a nearby school. The bomb detonated at a security checkpoint between the embassy and the Baath Party Headquarters, the BBC reports. Activists say at least 31... More »

Turkey Closes Syria Embassy

And agrees with the US to provide 'nonlethal' aid

(Newser) - Turkey shut down its embassy in Syria today, and plans to join with the US to provide “nonlethal” aid to Syria's rebels. White House officials tell the New York Times that the two nations will provide things like communication equipment and medical supplies directly to opposition groups, and... More »

Syrian Activists Lambaste Arab League Observers

Say violence rages despite their presence

(Newser) - Arab League observers are scheduled to visit Daraa today, but activists are quickly losing faith that their presence will make much difference. Human rights activists had criticized the Arab League’s choice to lead the mission—former Sudanese military intelligence head Mohammed al-Dabi—from the start, the New York Times... More »

Syrian Defectors Kill 27 Soldiers

Civil war fears grow amid anti-government attacks

(Newser) - Syrian army defectors killed at least 27 of their former comrades in Daraa province today, in one of the deadliest battles yet in what many fear is a budding Syrian civil war, activists tell the AP . The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says it has eye-witness reports of at least... More »

Bloody Wave Claims 70 in Syria

Bashar Assad soldiers targeted by army defectors

(Newser) - More than 70 Syrians died in a single day yesterday, many of them soldiers killed at the hands of army defectors in Daraa, activists tell the AP . The bloody wave was also felt in Homs, where the morgue had taken in 19 bullet-riddled corpses. Witnesses on the ground in Daraa... More »

Kids Among 88 Tortured and Killed in Syrian Prisons

Along with 78 others

(Newser) - At least 88 people have been tortured and killed in Syrian detention centers over the past five months, including 10 children, according to a new report from Amnesty International. Victims were burned, beaten, and electrocuted, among other abuses, the report alleges. “These deaths behind bars are reaching massive proportions,... More »

Assad's 'Groundbreaking' Speech Offers Little

Speech enrages protesters, who Assad called 'saboteurs'

(Newser) - Protests broke out across Syria today, after president Bashar al-Assad delivered a speech that blamed “saboteurs” and “foreign conspiracies” for the country’s unrest. The speech had been hailed in advance as one that would potentially be "groundbreaking," but it actually offered little new in terms... More »

Syrians Find Mass Graves

Meanwhile tanks roll into another southern city

(Newser) - Syrian villagers have found as many as 26 bodies piled into two fresh graves near the recently occupied city of Daraa, four locals tell Reuters . Authorities stepped in quickly to cordon off the area, but villagers were able to identify one of the men and several of his children, activists... More »

Syrians Defy Army, Take to Streets

Six die in clashes in Homs, Hama

(Newser) - Protesters took to the streets in Syria today, and were met with gunfire from the waiting military. A large number of troops had been deployed across the country in preparation for this “Day of Defiance,” the BBC reports. At least six have been killed, five in Homs—Syria’... More »

Syrian Troops Leave Daraa, but Arrests Start Elsewhere

Human rights group says 8K in custody or missing since protests began

(Newser) - Syrian troops slowly began to leave Daraa today, ending an 11-day siege against its citizens. But at the same time, security forces began rounding up people in the suburbs of Damascus, sweeping through the town of Saqba and arresting men between the ages of 18 and 50. Human rights groups... More »

Syria Charges Hundreds With ‘Maligning the State’

Hundreds face three-year stints in jail

(Newser) - Hundreds of the Syrians rounded up in recent days have been charged with “maligning the prestige of the state,” an offense punishable by a three-year prison term, a human rights group tells Reuters . “Mass arrests are continuing across Syria in another violation of human rights and international... More »

Rights Group: Syria Has Arrested 1K ‘Arbitrarily’

But experts warn of chaos if regime falls

(Newser) - The International Committee of the Red Cross demanded “immediate and unimpeded” access to Syrians wounded in clashes with the government today, as the government’s crackdown continues, the AP reports. One human rights group says more than 1,000 people have been arrested since Saturday. “They are picking... More »

Syrian Forces Go House to House, Arresting Hundreds

Protests continue despite crackdown

(Newser) - Syrian security forces went from house to house today, rounding up hundreds of people in an attempt to quell the pro-democracy unrest stirring across the country, human rights activists tell Reuters . "They are continuing their arrest operation in all the cities of Syria. They have lists and they are... More »

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