Richard Spencer
London Telegraph
April 9, 2011

Witnesses said the worst clashes began after demonstrators marched from three mosques in the southern city of Deraa after Friday prayers.

Security forces in plain clothes fired tear gas then rubber bullets and finally live ammunition on stone-throwing youths. At least 17 people were reported killed.

There were protests in cities across Syria sparking violent responses from the authorities. Three people were killed in the town of Harasta, two in Homs and, significantly, there was a report that water cannon had been used to put down a demonstration in Hama, the town where Mr Asad’s father and predecessor, Hafez al-Asad, killed 20,000 people in putting down an Islamist uprising in 1982.

Mr Asad has promised constitutional reform and hinted at lifting emergency laws in place since his father came to power in 1963.

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