Syrian security forces fired tear gas and live ammunition to disperse thousands of people rallying yesterday in Aleppo, in what activists said was the largest protest yet in a city that has largely remained loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
The protest pointed to rising anti-regime sentiment in Syria's largest city, particularly after a raid on dormitories at the main university killed four students earlier this month.
On Thursday, about 15,000 students demonstrated outside the gates of Aleppo University in the presence of UN observers, before security forces broke up the protest. Even bigger numbers took to the streets yesterday. Mohammad Saeed, an Aleppo-based activist, said it was the largest demonstration there since the start of the uprising. He said more than 10,000 people protested in the Salaheddine and al-Shaar districts alone.
The head of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdul-Rahman, said the protest showed "it's a real uprising happening in Aleppo these days".
Rallies were held across the country in solidarity with Aleppo. Activists said security forces opened fire in the Damascus suburbs and Hama.