“There can be no real reforms in Syria while security forces abuse people with impunity,” said Joe Stork, HRW’s deputy Middle East director. “President Assad needs to rein in his security services and hold them to account for arbitrary arrests and torture.”
Dozens more people were reportedly detained Friday when protests erupted after noon prayers across the country. One man was reported killed in Deir ez Zor in eastern Syria by regime “thugs,” according to a post on the Syria Revolution Facebook page.
Other protests were reported in Latakia and Banias on the Mediterranean coast; the northern Sunni cities of Hama, Homs, and Aleppo; Deraa in the south, Qamishly and other Kurdish towns and villages in the northeast; and several towns around Damascus, the capital.
The emergence of protests in Hama and Aleppo and the Idlib province in northern Syria is a new and significant development. Aleppo is Syria’s largest city and is populated mainly by Sunnis though it has sizable Christian and Kurdish communities.