BEIRUT: Thousands of Syrian protesters took to the streets Friday with chants, banners and cartoons of President Bashar Assad, to vent their anger at the regime, Hezbollah and the international community.
Others protested under the banner of “Raqqa the proud on the road to freedom” in solidarity with the embattled province of northern Syria.
Some were greeted with bullets.
Protesters were fired at “indiscriminately by the security forces” in the district of Mishlib and February 23 Street of Raqqa city, according to the opposition activist group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
“One person was killed by regime forces during the demonstration and three others were killed by snipers in the same area shortly after, but we cannot confirm who was firing,” Observatory director Rami Abdel-Rahman said.
In the Idlib town of Kfarnabal, which has seen deadly air raids in the past week, demonstrators carried banners to denounce the escalating violence.
“World! Your carelessness produced extremists like Assad. Now we need extremists to get rid of your products,” read an English banner held by men and boys standing in front of a bombed-out building.
The Arabic banner read: “The revolution is not sectarian and ... all are welcome under the roof of the nation.”
The message came a day after a spate of bombings across Damascus, including a suicide car bomb condemned by the regime and opposition, killed at least 83 people in the deadliest day for the capital since the March 2011 start of the Syrian conflict.
In the town of Irbin, just northeast of Damascus, that has been the target of continuous bombardment by regime warplanes, a young boy stopped for a photo during a march to show his message to Assad: “We are coming to get you.”
Meanwhile, the Facebook group “Lens of a Young Isqati” showed a demonstrator in the northwestern town of Isqat holding a cartoon of Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah facing Israel and striking matches to light the fuse of a bomb.
But the fuse is facing the opposite direction and the matches land in Lebanon and Syria, where Hezbollah fighters were reported to have attacked opposition-held towns and villages from across the border last week.
Despite the ever-rising brutality of the conflict, which has left an estimated 70,000 people killed, according to the U.N., demonstrations continue to be held every Friday nationwide.
In the Turkish border town of Ain al-Arab, demonstrators, including young girls and dancing teenagers, shouted for freedom as they held aloft Kurdish flags alongside the Syrian revolution banner in a video posted on YouTube.
At the Zaatari camp in northern Jordan for Syrian refugees, some 300 demonstrators rallied to urge the international community to arm the rebel Free Syrian Army.
“Oh world, we want arms ... The people demand the arming of the Free Army,” they chanted.