TRIPOLI, Lebanon: Around 200 Syrian activists gathered in central Tripoli Sunday afternoon to demonstrate against their government’s violent crackdown on civilian protesters.
The demonstrators, mainly from the central Syrian city of Homs that has played a key role in the uprising and is now under siege by the Syrian Army, gathered in front of the International Red Cross Committee headquarters building in Tripoli at around 3 p.m.
"I was in Homs protesting under the bombs so it's not a problem for me to be protesting in Tripoli," said a woman who asked that her name not be published to protect her family still living in Syria.
"My heart is in Syria with my family," said a woman who goes by the nickname Um Mahmoud, whose son is imprisoned in Syria.
Carrying the pre-Baath party flag of Syria, the men and women carried signs that read: “Nothing Lasts Forever,” “We will remove you Assad,” and “Homs screams. Where is the world?”
Ahmad Moussa and Amin Mando, two of Syria's main opposition leaders in Tripoli, helped coordinate the protest.
The United Nations estimates that over 5,400 people, mainly civilians, have been killed in a crackdown by Damascus since the uprising began in mid-March 2011. The Syrian government denies targeting civilians and blames the violence on "armed gangs."