Syrian Protesters Emerge Amid Clashes and Bombing During a Holiday Cease-Fire
Source: New York Times
Scattered clashes and reports of a deadly bombing near a Damascus playground marred the first day of a four-day cease-fire in the Syria conflict on Friday, but in most parts of the country the level of violence appeared to subside because of the truce, called in deference to the most important Muslim holiday of the year.
The government, apparently anticipating street demonstrations, stationed security forces near mosques that tried to break up some of the protests, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Protests long suppressed by wrenching violence emerged in the streets once again, calling for Mr. Assadís ouster and, in some places, for his execution. The size of the protests themselves, larger and more widespread than they have been for many weeks, was the strongest indication that the truce had made a difference. Although the uprising started as a peaceful protest movement in March 2011, the escalating carnage that has claimed tens of thousands of lives eventually drove the demonstrators indoors.
Some of the chants at Hajar al-Aswad referred to recent reports of a split in the Alawite community, with a shootout apparently taking place on Sept. 29 between relatives of the president and his detractors in Qurdaha, Mr. Assadís hometown, in the Alawite-dominated mountains above Latakia. As the Syrian protest movement has increasingly degenerated into a fight between the Sunni majority and the Alawite minority, there had been few cracks in the unity among the Alawites until that episode.
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