Syrian Deaths Mount; Yemenis Protest; Libyan Rebels Attack

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad
Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. Photographer: Pankaj Nangia/Bloomberg

Syrian forces killed one and wounded five yesterday in protests seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad, Al Jazeera reported, citing activists.

In Yemen, thousands rallied in Taiz to condemn violence a day earlier against pro-democracy demonstrators, and Libyan rebels attacked pro-government forces in the oil city of Brega.

Syrian protesters set fire to a police station and court building in the border town of Albu Kamal, news agency SANA reported. Government forces fired on them, killing one and wounding others, Arabiya said, citing a local sheikh. Two police officers were also shot dead, Syrian television said.

“Patrols of the Syrian forces stormed the square of Albu Kamal and opened fire randomly,” Adel Othman, an activist, told Al Jazeera via telephone. “Hospitals in Albu Kamal are in need of blood donors.”

More than 1.7 million people rallied July 14 in the largest Syrian protest since mid-March, Arabiya reported, citing activists. Deaths that day totaled 41, including 21 in Damascus, the National Organization for Human Rights said.

“We’re encouraged by what we see the Syrian people doing for themselves,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at a news conference in Istanbul. Syrians are “trying to form an opposition that can provide a pathway, hopefully, in peaceful cooperation with the government.”

Accord Unlikely

An accord with the government is becoming unlikely, Razan Zaitoneh, a Syrian activist, told the Kuwaiti Alrai newspaper yesterday. She said 1,970 protesters have been killed and 15,000 detained since the uprising began four months ago.

“We wouldn’t accept less than toppling the regime, which recognized that it is too late to start any kind of political reforms,” she said.

The opposition needs outside support, Ali Sadr-al-Din al-Bayanuni, a leader of Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood movement, said on Al Jazeera television.

“What is required of the international community and Arab countries is to withdraw support from this regime, which has lost its legitimacy, and to boycott it on both the international and diplomatic levels,” he said.

In Yemen, protests yesterday seeking to end the 33-year rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh were centered in the southern city of Taiz, Ammar al-Kinani, an activist, said in a telephone interview.

A security official was ambushed and killed and four of his guards wounded, SABA reported, citing a military spokesman. Seven civilians were killed July 14 and 30 were wounded in shelling of Taiz by Yemeni forces, witnesses said.

Workers Blocked

In Aden, four people demanding jobs were injured when police fired to disperse a crowd blocking workers from entering the Aden Refinery Co., Fawaz Sharabi, a witness, said.

Hundreds in Yemen have died since January in clashes between government forces and activists. The discord is part of revolts sweeping the Arab world this year that toppled the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt.

The Organizing Committee of Popular Youth Revolution said yesterday it had established a transitional presidential council for Yemen with 17 members. Major General Abdullah Ali Olaiwah, a former defense minister, was named commander of the armed forces, the group said at a news conference in the capital, Sana’a.

Brega Fighting

In Libya, rebel forces entered Brega and confronted forces loyal to Muammar Qaddafi, Arabiya said. A Libyan medical official, Mohammed Idris, said 10 rebel fighters had been killed and 172 wounded, Al Jazeera reported.

NATO headquarters in Naples, Italy, said it conducted 115 air strikes in Libya July 14 in which a tank, five armored vehicles and a rocket launcher were destroyed near Brega. Libyan television reported NATO aircraft raiding Tajoura, an eastern suburb of the capital, Tripoli, early today, the Associated Press said. The television report said civilian and military targets were hit, according to AP.

Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf accepted the resignation of Foreign Minister Mohammed El-Orabi, the Cabinet announced yesterday. Sharaf named two new deputies and will reshuffle cabinet posts today, said Mohammed Hegaz, a government spokesman.

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