Dec. 23 - Protests calling for President Assad to leave are held across Syria, while government authorities say they are targeted by al Qaeda in Damascus. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Amateur video out of Syria shows demonstrators back on the streets of Hama. The video, which could not be independently verified by Reuters, comes on the same day that at least 40 people were killed in Damascus by suicide car bombers. Footage purportedly out of Homs shows more demonstrations. Citizens on the streets erect a mock gallows depicting the hanging of President Bashar al-Assad. More footage reportedly from Deraa shows people crowding the streets calling for the end of Assad's rule. The United Nations says Assad's forces have killed more than 5,000 people since the uprising began in March. The intensifying violence on both sides in Syria has raised fears that the country is drifting towards civil war. State media says Arab League monitors are due to arrive in Syria by the end of the month. Syria has banned most independent media from the country making it difficult to verify accounts from activists or the government. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters