Syrian cities witness sabotage by gunmen during protests
Several cities in southern Syria, including the capital Damascus, witnessed gunmen attacks at people and properties which caused dozens of casualties during the Friday mass protests, Syrian official news agency SANA reported.
Masked gunmen on motorcycles or in cars shot indiscriminately at people and attacked guards at the Ezra town in the southern province of Daraa on Friday, leaving eight people killed and 28 others wounded, SANA quoted an official source as saying.
The Syrian army retaliated, killing eight gunmen, and chased the rest who ran away, according to the source, Xinhua reported.
Daraa, which has become the flash point of the month-long protest across Syria, witnessed Friday protests where thousands of people shouted slogans for freedom and expressed support for martyrs killed during the protests, Sana said.
An armed "criminal" group attacked a military site in al- Mouadhamiya town in Damascus' suburb on Friday, the source said, adding that the army shot back, leaving "many casualties."
Some gunmen set fire to a number of fire engines in Jouber city near Damascus, seriously wounding a number of fire fighters, according to SANA.
Two policemen were killed and 11 others wounded, including two officers, when they were attacked by gunmen in Damascus and the central province of Homs, it said.
Syrian Satellite TV Channel said a number of rioters cut roads inside Talbissah city in Homs, smashed public and private properties and torched fire engines.
The authorities blamed the violent acts on unidentified armed gangs.
In Hama and Hasaka provinces in northern Syria, which had witnessed similar protests, calm was restored, SANA said.
Syrian Interior Ministry urged citizens to adhere to Thursday's presidential decree which permitted peaceful demonstration, and to get an advanced permission for staging demonstrations "to enable the security forces to protect them."
Meanwhile, SANA said the army forces have seized mobile phones with foreign cards, along with digital cameras carrying short clips showing fabricated acts of violence and suppression during the demonstrations.
The army also seized swords and batons intended to be used by the group against security forces during the demonstration, in addition to blood-filled bottles for the filming of the fabricated violent acts and other bottles filled with gasoline to ignite fire, it said.
In a related development, the residents of al-Midan district in Damascus denied the footage broadcast by some Arab satellite channels, which showed policemen gunned demonstrators in their neighborhood and used tear gas to repel them, as "baseless and aiming at fomenting anarchy."