By Eileen Gould
Impunity Watch Reporter, Middle East
DAMASCUS, Syria – On Sunday security forces and secret police raided a town on the western coast of Syria and allegedly fired on protesters without warning. In Jableh, witnesses say that security forces began firing on small groups of protesters, as they started to gather in the streets. One man was killed.
Protestors continued to gather in the streets, spurred on by the violence. As they chanted, calling for the end of the regime, snipers fired from the roofs of nearby buildings.
On Saturday in the there were also reports that security forces fired shots at people who were paying their respects to protesters that had been killed. The incident left at least ten people dead. In addition, many police officers have been injured during the attacks on protesters.
These demonstrations have been going on for several weeks, with protesters calling for the government to end the state of emergency and martial law and for the release of political prisoners.
In the meantime, Human Rights Watch has recommended that the United Nations set up an international inquiry into the incident which left many peaceful protesters dead and other human rights violations that have occurred in Syria. The organization also suggested imposing sanctions on Syrian officials who are responsible for the attacks on peaceful protesters as well as the detention and torture of some protesters.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as well as the president of the European Parliament and US President Barack Obama have condemned the violence and have called on the Syrian government to stop using violence against protesters.
The Canadian government has also expressed concern over the use of violence against protesters in Syria.
Human Rights Watch officials stated, “President Bashar al-Asad’s promises of reform mean nothing while his security forces are free to kill peaceful protesters. The Obama administration and the EU should push for meaningful sanctions that will persuade President Asad to end the shootings and restore human rights.”
For more information please see:
CNN – Security Forces Open Fire on Syrian protesters; at least 1 dead – 24 April 2011
Human Rights Watch – Syria: World Should Impose Sanctions on Leadership – 24 April 2011
Montreal Gazette – Canada ‘deeply concerned’ by Syria crackdown – 24 April 2011