Official Source: Armed Groups Shoot Citizens, Policemen in Daraa, Claim Scores of Lives

Tishreen Newspaper ‏

English Website, Syria Millennium ‏

An official source at the Interior Ministry said the death toll has risen to 19 martyrs and 75 injured policemen and security forces members as armed groups opened fire on them in Daraa, 101 km south of Damascus, on Friday April the 8th 2011. ‏

The official source said that armed groups opened fire on citizens and unarmed policemen and security forces when the prayers were leaving al-Omari Mosque heading for the center of Daraa city. ‏

The source said there are strict instructions to all policemen and security forces whose mission necessitates their presence in places of gatherings not to carry weapons. ‏

Earlier, the source said that four policemen and security forces members were shot and killed by the armed groups, stressing the existence of documented evidence about these assaults. ‏

The gunmen also fired at an ambulance that was carrying injured people to the hospital, claiming the driver`s life. ‏

The source pointed out that other groups have planted concrete barriers on the roads and set tires on fire and thrown stones at policemen and security forces; this forced policemen to use tear gas to disperse them before they attack several public and private properties. The armed groups also burned some service facilities and cars. ‏

The Ministry source clarified that Daraa inhabitants have expressed frustration with the state of chaos, insecurity and terrorizing of people caused by the armed groups. ‏

In a statement to SANA, a number of the wounded said the armed groups opened fire from rooftops and between trees on citizens and policemen as they set tires on fire and rolled them towards demonstrators in the yard of al-Omari Mosque while other armed groups riding motorcycles shot citizens. ‏

Earlier, The Syrian state-run television showed footage of gunmen shooting at citizens, security forces and policemen in Daraa. ‏

In Homs, hundreds took to streets in Talldaw and Baba Amr districts where a number of them burned police cars and fired at policemen and security forces while a number of masked men on motorcycles opened fire randomly at citizens, causing injuries. ‏

Injured security forces member Samer Wassouf, who was shot in the leg, said that armed individuals attacked the police department of Talldaw, opening fire randomly on officers and the building and setting fire to several cars. ‏

Injured security forces members Abdo Mehia al-Hilo and Waseem al-Qayyem said that they were pelted with stones and assaulted in Baba Amr and Bab Houd districts, affirming that unidentified individuals pelted policemen with stones, while groups riding bikes opened fire randomly in the streets. ‏

The Director of the Military Hospital in Homs said that that the hospital admitted 6 injured security forces members, one of them suffering from a gunshot and is in a critical condition. ‏

Thousands of citizens gathered in Douma, Damascus Countryside, shouting for freedom and martyrs. Most of them dispersed after less than two hours. ‏

Hundreds of citizens gathered in Lattakia, Qamishli and Banyas, demanding expediting reforms, bolstering the atmosphere of freedom, and combating corruption, in addition to a number of demands related to local services. No conflicts or vandalism occurred during these gatherings. ‏

In this context, the Interior Ministry called upon the citizens of Daraa not to shelter the armed groups and to inform the authorities concerned of any information on them. ‏