March 23rd, 2011
06:15 PM ET

15 killed in clashes between protesters, security forces in Syria

CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - Escalating violence between Syrian security forces and anti-government protesters claimed 15 people Wednesday in the city of Daraa, witnesses and rights activists said. Syrian state television reported the government fired the governor of Daraa province, a flash point of anti-government protests.

There was no breakdown on the casualties. According to activists and witnesses, seven people died shortly after dawn prayers near al Omari mosque. Security personnel tried to storm the area where protesters took positions to demand government reforms, an opposition spokesman said.

Later, about 3,000 protesters from neighboring towns gathered outside Daraa and clashed with an army unit known for its loyalty to President Bashar al-Assad, activists and witnesses said. The army unit is headed by a family member, Maher al-Assad, said the opposition spokesman.

Eight more people died in the later clashes, bringing the death toll Wednesday to 15, according to the sources. Overall, at least 21 people have died in unrest in the city since Friday.

Army tanks are positioned in the city, including near al Omari mosque, the opposition spokesman said. Mobile and regular telephone service from Daraa has been cut off, witnesses told CNN.

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soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Zee

    Thank you very much for airing the interview with Waseem Tarif. I applaud this person for his courage; I live in Virginia and can't even ask my family in Syria about the situation there over the phone in fear of the government retaliation. I hope the Syrian president realizes before it is too late that killing innocent Syrian young men would only anger more people and ignite them to join the protest against his regime. My condolences to the families of those who were killed just because they had the courage to ask for the right to live free in their own country.

    March 23, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
  2. Sam

    The Syrian regime is the worst and most Bloody among the middle east regimes , and they support a terrorist groups in Lebanon ,Gaza and Iraq .
    I hope you Anderson and CNN with all my respect and admiration to your views and opinions to put some lights about what's happening in Dara , it's a city under siege and its peoples been murdered in cold blood and children's been arrested just for expressing their opinions peacefully , I hope you help open the eyes of the whole world about the crimes this regime undertaking against it's own peaceful citizens , and remember a lots of accusation we heard about the support this regime give to Gadafi.
    I believe it's a national interest of the USA to help the Syrian people get ride of this regime who is Iran and terrorist group best friend and work against USA best interest in Lebanon ,Israel ,Iraq and libya.

    March 23, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
  3. Tonino

    THE Middle East is the most dangerous and keenly watched area of the world. And little wonder if you will; it is central to the economic stability of the world. Conflicts in the Middle East inevitably draw in the major powers and for many years it has been the most likely place for World War Ill to begin. This explains the urgency for lasting peace treaties and long-term security arrangements. UNFORTUNATLY war will be unavoidable from now to 2013, what started in Lybia will spread like a plague throughout the Middle East to include all counrties, it is a prophecy not a lie, a destiny not a prediction.

    March 23, 2011 at 8:49 pm |