Activists: 617 Slain in Syria Since Protests Began

Muslim Brotherhood Urges More Participation as Friday Looms

Another Friday of massive public protests looms in Syria, and once again it looks to rival the massive rallies of the previous week. Five weeks of the protests have taken a heavy toll on the protesters, but have not dampened their spirits.

Activists for the pro-democracy movement say that 617 protesters have been killed since the beginning of the protests in Mid-March. The estimate is somehwat larger than that of one human rights group, which put the toll at 416 earlier this week.

The protest movement in Syria started extremely modestly, with a few hundred demonstrators in the southern border city of Daraa. A violent crackdown swelled their numbers the following week, and the process repeated until Syria is now facing one of the largest such movements in the region, with hundreds of thousands of protesters taking to the streets last Friday.

And though the crackdowns have escalated to the point that Syrian tanks are now in Daraa, this Friday is likely to be no less important for protesters. Indeed, the nation’s Muslim Brotherhood faction is now endorsing the protests openly and urging demonstrators to take to the streets. This will be one more reason for Friday’s protests to be something to watch.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.