Syria Forces Shell Restive Daraa

Tank fire reported in contested town
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 1, 2011 10:45 AM CDT
Syria Protests: Bashar al-Assad's Forces Still Shelling Daraa
In this citizen journalism image made on a mobile phone, taken on Saturday, April 30, 2011, Syrian protesters carry candles during a night gathering in the coastal city of Banias.   (AP Photo)

Syrian army tanks today shelled the old quarter of Daraa, a city at the heart of the country's six-week-old uprising and rolled in more reinforcements to the area, which has been under siege for nearly a week, said an eyewitness. Residents have remained defiant: Unable to leave their homes, they have chanted "God is Great!" to each other from their windows in the evenings, infuriating security forces and raising each other's spirits. Daraa has been without water, fuel or electricity since Monday, when the regime sent in troops backed by tanks and snipers to crush protests seeking an end to President Bashar Assad's authoritarian rule.

Tanks fired shells into the heart of Daraa's ancient Roman quarter Sunday, said a resident who lives on the outskirts of the city. He said he could identify the weaponry because he was a former soldier. The death toll has soared to 545 nationwide from government forces firing on demonstrators—action that has drawn international condemnation and US financial penalties on top figures in his regime. (More Syria stories.)

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