Escalation

50 Killed in Syria Protests

The situation in Syria is escalating day by day, with security forces firing tear gas and live ammunition on thousands of demonstrators Friday in Damascus and at least 10 other towns and cities across the country, killing more than 50 people according to various reports. Witnesses claim protesters tore down pictures of President Bashar al-Assad and destroyed statues of his father, Hafez, in two cities, while the largest protests—in the thousands—occurred on the outskirts of the capital. According to Razan Zeitouneh, an activist in the Syrian Human Rights Information Link in Damascus, 10 people were killed in Azra, in southern Syria; 2 were killed in Homs; and 12 in the suburbs of Damascus. In Homs, Syria's third-largest city, plainclothes police officers and security forces set up checkpoints to prevent demonstrations, with one activist claiming 16 such demonstrators went missing. "There is no more fear. No more fear," said Abu Ahmad, a protester who witnessed the bloody scene in Azra. "We either want to die or to remove him. Death has become something ordinary."