June 20 - Protests gather pace across Syria as demonstrators reject reform plans by President Bashar al-Assad. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Saying no to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Demonstrations continue across Syria after the President promised to national dialogue on reforms. Amateur video out of Hama, which could not be independently verified by Reuters, shows children joining the demonstrations to call for change. More footage, purportedly out of Abou Kamal, shows demonstrators chanting for the end of the regime. Assad has blamed three months of unrest in Syria on saboteurs. He said no deal could be reached with gunmen. In Lattakia, more demonstrations. The protests come amid reports that Syrian forces are sweeping through the northwestern border region with Turkey, blocking refugees fleeing the military crackdown. Syria has barred most international journalists from entering the country, making it difficult to verify accounts from activists and officials. Syrian rights groups say at least 1,300 civilians have been killed and 10,000 people detained since March. The Syrian Observatory for human rights has said more than 300 soldiers and police have also been killed. Other rights campaigners say dozens of security personnel had been killed by loyalist troops for refusing to shoot at unarmed civilians. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.