Report: At Least 41 Killed as Syria Shells Protesters in Rastan

Rally in Town's Center Met With Tank Shells

According to a human rights lawyer familiar with the situation, a pro-democracy protest in the Syrian town of Rastan on Tuesday was attacked by the military, with tank shells raining down on protesters in the town’s center.

By the end of the day, at least 41 protesters were killed and an unknown number of others wounded. A human rights campaigner reported that crackdowns were seen in a number of towns, and it is estimated that the overall toll is around 1,000 protesters slain since the rallies began in March.

At the same time the crackdowns were continuing, the government began to make good on yesterday’s promise of amnesty for political prisoners, releasing some 500 detainees who were captured over participation in protests.

Naturally, the protesters were none too impressed by the releases, which were clouded by the continued violence against the crackdown. Activists say they believe the amnesty is an attempt to curry favor internationally more than a serious attempt at reform. Until the killings stop it would be difficult to dispute that point.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.