Syrian army arrests "armed groups" leading figures: report
Syrian army units arrested on Saturday a number of armed group leaders it blames for violent acts in the northern area of Jisr al-Shughour, Syrian Arab News Agency SANA reported.
Syria authorities said eight civilians and security force members were killed Friday by armed groups who took advantage of gatherings in some Syrian cities, adding that the Syrian army has started since Friday morning its mission at the entrances of Jisr al-Shughour area to track down gunmen in response to the residents ' calls, Xinhua reported.
The Syrian TV said security forces have arrested a large number of those group members and killed and wounded many others, despite the numerous ambushes set up against the army units.
It said the army has blocked attempts by the gunmen to encircle wheal fields in the area, adding the gunmen tried to attack Arab journalists who were taken by the Information Ministry to the area to cover "what is really happening there."
Meanwhile, some Jisr al-Shughour residents confirmed during interviews with the Syrian TV that they have fled the area "to protect ourselves and our kids following the massacres committed by armed terrorist gangs."
Meanwhile, SANA also said that some Syrian provinces and cities witnessed Friday some gatherings following noon prayers, including the Qabon and Midan neighborhoods, and most of the demonstrations dispersed without any clashes with security agents, stressing that normal life has been restored in most Syrian cities.
In a related development, a source in the Interior Ministry said Friday that some "tendentious" TV channels have broadcasted " false" news and showed lists of the names of some policemen and army officers, whom they said were allegedly killed by their comrades for rejecting orders to shoot at demonstrators.
"What has been broadcasted by those TV channels is absolutely baseless and aims only at inciting, provoking and undermining Syria's security and stability," the source said.
Al-Jazeera satellite network quoted human rights activists as reporting Friday that thousands of protesters on Friday took to the streets in various Syrian cities, including suburbs in the capital Damascus, central city of Homs, northeastern town of al- Boukamal and Deir el-Zhour.
Thirty people across Syria were killed, when hundreds of protestors took to the streets in various cites on the so-called " Friday of tribes," said al-Jazeera.
Syria has been wracked by a wave of protests since March 15, which called for reforms and more freedom in the country.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has initially responded to the country's unprecedented anti-government protests by offering some concessions, including lifting the state of emergency in place since 1963, releasing hundreds of political detainees and reshuffling the government.