Syrian forces shot dead two civilians on Friday when they fired at a pro-democracy demonstration in a village in the southern Hauran Plain, cradle of the uprising against Baathist rule, residents said.
“There was a demonstration of 1,000 people when the ‘Amen’ (security police) fired from their cars,” one of the residents of Busra al-Harir village said, giving the names of the dead protesters as Adnan al-Hariri and Abdelmuttaleb al-Hariri.
Syrian state television said a member of the security forces, whom the television described as “preservers of peace”, was shot dead by gunmen in Busra al-Harir, but residents say no policemen were killed and that the demonstration was peaceful.
“Adnan al-Hariri is an amputee. His two hands were amputated following an electrocution accident. The demonstrators did not have guns. The fire came from the police cars,” said another resident of the village, which is 40 km (25 miles) north of the border with Jordan.
Syria has barred most independent media from the country, making it difficult to verify accounts of the bloodshed.
Protests demanding political freedoms and the removal of President Bashar al-Assad took place in several villages and towns across southern Syria on Friday, among them the towns of Harra, Inkhil and Deraa, residents and activists said.