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Syrians rally for Assad to ‘get out’

world Updated: Feb 19, 2012 01:06 IST

AFP
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Thousands of protesters on Saturday flooded the streets of Syrian cities and towns, including the capital, calling for the downfall of president Bashar al-Assad's regime, monitors said.

The protesters emerged from mosques after the main weekly Muslim prayers, including in Damascus, following a call by internet-based activists for a rally for a ‘new phase of popular resistance.’

“Get out! Get out!” they chanted at gatherings across the unrest-swept country, according to amateur footage uploaded by opposition activists to video-sharing website YouTube.

“We want revenge against Bashar and Maher,” some of them shouted, in reference to the president's brother, who heads the feared Fourth Armoured Division.

In the capital, one civilian died and 12 were wounded, some critically, when they were fired on at a demonstration in

Mazze neighbourhood, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Activists said the scattered protests were among the most widespread in Damascus since the uprising against the Assad regime broke out last March.

"This is the first time that the demonstrations have spread to the uptown areas and not been confined to Old Mazze," said Moaz Shami of the Local Coordination Committees, which organise the demonstrations.

US Senate approves resolution against Syrian violence

The US Senate has approved a resolution condemning the Syrian government for violence against its people.

The Senate passed the nonbinding measure Friday on a voice vote. The resolution also expresses disappointment with China and Russia for vetoing a UN Security Council resolution to condemn Syrian President Bashar Assad, urging the two countries to reconsider.

The resolution cites Syria's "brutal and unjustifiable use of force against civilians."

The UN says more than 5,400 people have been killed since March in the government crackdown.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry, a Democrat, says there is consensus in the Middle East that Assad is doomed, but the end could be many months away in a probable civil war.