Syrian protesters praised Libyan rebel advances in Tripoli as the Syrian regime's crackdown continued unabated, despite Western sanctions that are beginning to bite.
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Syrian protesters, buoyed by the success of the anti-Qaddafi movement in Libya, marched in the streets of several towns and cities Thursday night. Eight were killed, seven of them in the historically rebellious city of Hama, when President Bashar al-Assad's security forces opened fire on the demonstrators.
While the Syrian regime says it has been forced to take action against gunmen and "terrorists," it does not face an armed insurrection on the scale of Libya's and Syrian protesters have vowed to remain peaceful despite Assad's lethal crackdown. More than 2,000 Syrians have died in the conflict, including at least 400 security forces.
Masked gunmen broke the hand of a prominent Syrian political cartoonist, known throughout the Arab world for his work skewering Arab leaders, in Damascus yesterday, The New York Times reports. Ali Farzat had published a cartoon showing Assad getting a ride out of town with Muammar Qaddafi.