05/14/2011, 00.00
SYRIA
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More deaths yesterday in Syria despite Bashar al-Assad’s promises

The Syrian president issued orders to his security forces not to shoot at demonstrators on the “Friday of the free women of Syria”. Next week, talks are planned with a presidential adviser to discuss opposition demands.
Damascus (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Thousands of Syrians across the country took to the streets yesterday to demand democracy, reforms and an end to the Bashar al-Assad regime. For the ninth consecutive week, protests followed Friday prayers.  President Bashar al-Assad is said to have issued a presidential order “not to shoot demonstrators,” warning that “whoever violates this [order] will bear full responsibility,” presidential advisor Bouthaina Shaaban told prominent political activist Louay Hussein.

Despite the announcement, local forces say that four people died yesterday and many more were wounded in what for organisers was the “Friday of the free women of Syria” in which they honoured the women who participated in anti-regime protests.

Yesterday’s demonstrations took place in Homs as well as Daraya, a Damascus suburb. Baniyas and Deraa are still under siege, with demonstrations held in check.

Next week, Louay Hussein and three veteran opposition activists will meet the presidential advisers to discuss demands made to the government.

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