Security forces killed 10 civilians as anti-regime demonstrations were staged across Syria yesterday, the first day of the Muslim feast marking the end of the hajj, a human rights group said.
It was the fourth straight day of deadly violence since Syria agreed to an Arab League peace blueprint aimed at ending nearly eight months of bloodshed and French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said it was clear that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime had no intention of ending its bloody bid to crush dissent.
Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi said that failure of the peace deal agreed on Wednesday would be catastrophic and demanded an immediate end to the bloodshed.
The Arab roadmap calls for an end to violence, the release of those detained, the withdrawal of the army from urban areas and free movement for observers and the media, as well as talks between the regime and opposition.
The death toll since it was agreed has topped 50, with the UN estimating that more than 3,000 people have been killed in a brutal crackdown since anti-regime protests erupted in mid-March.
Eight of the civilians killed yesterday were in Homs, the flashpoint central city where protests against al-Assad’s rule were held in most districts despite a weeks-long military crackdown.
Security forces also shot dead a civilian in the city of Hama, which lies further to the north, and another in Idlib Province, near the border with Turkey.
The latest reported crackdown on protests came as Syrian state radio said Assad attended Al-Nur mosque in the northern town of Raqqa for prayers yesterday morning to mark Eid al-Adha.
However, following the morning prayers, marches were held across the country in support of Homs and against the regime.
Damascus condemned Washington for “blatant interference” after the US State Department suggested Syrians reject an amnesty offered by the regime to lay down their arms.
The French foreign minister said it was now clear there was “nothing more to expect” from Assad’s regime in terms of honoring its commitments under the Arab peace plan.
“I personally think there is nothing more to expect from this regime and that, despite its occasional announcements, it will not commit to a program of reforms,” Juppe told Europe 1 radio yesterday.
“Different initiatives have been taken to try to bring Bashar al-Assad to dialogue. You can see what happened to the last one: Bashar al-Assad accepts the Arab League peace plan and the next day he massacres dozens more people in the streets,” Juppe said.