Syrian rebels call for Friday protests | world | Hindustan Times
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Syrian rebels call for Friday protests

Syria's opposition has called for major protests on Friday, as skirmishes between troops and rebels tested a shaky ceasefire to end a 13-month crackdown on dissent that has killed thousands.

world Updated: Apr 14, 2012 00:39 IST

Syria's opposition has called for major protests on Friday, as skirmishes between troops and rebels tested a shaky ceasefire to end a 13-month crackdown on dissent that has killed thousands.

As the hard-won ceasefire appeared to be holding for a second day, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he did not expect it to last as he questioned President Bashar al-Assad's sincerity and appealed for observers to be deployed to report the situation.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported limited clashes broke out Friday between the army and rebel fighters at Khirbet al-Joz, on the northern border with Turkey, after the military deployed troops and tanks to the area.

Violence on Thursday killed at least 10 people, including seven civilians, and wounded dozens more, said the Observatory, a Britain-based monitoring group.

Assad's government and the rebels traded accusations of trying to wreck the ceasefire.

Despite the regime's commitment to pull back, the spokeswoman for the opposition Syrian National Council, Basma Qoudmani, said, "We have concrete proof that heavy weapons are still in population centres."

The SNC, the most widely recognised opposition group in exile, and Internet-based activists called for peaceful demonstrations across Syria. But Syria's interior ministry insists people wanting to demonstrate must have permits.