Syrian forces fired live ammunition at protesters coming out of a main mosque after Friday Prayers in the besieged city of Deir al-Zor, witnesses said, as protests against President Bashar al-Assad broke out elsewhere in the country.
"Military Intelligence directed their AK-47s at the mosque, hitting the main air-conditioning unit, which caught fire. The whole neighbourhood is echoing with the sound of bullets," said one of the witnesses, an engineer in the Ordi district who lives near Harwil Mosque.
"Worshippers are running to take cover in alleyways," he said by phone from Deir al-Zor, capital of an oil-producing province on the border with Iraq.
Syrian authorities have banned independent media, making it difficult to verify events on the ground.
Another resident said: "People have gone out of almost every major mosque in Deir al-Zor, only meters away from tanks that occupy every main square and roundabout."
Troops and Military Intelligence personnel, backed by tanks and armoured vehicles, stepped up an assault on Deir al-Zor this week, activists and residents said.
ReutersLast Mod: 12 Ağustos 2011, 14:57