Feb. 18 - Syrian security forces fire on a huge protest against President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus Saturday. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Amateur video out of Syria shows tensions on the streets of Damascus. The video , which could not be independently verified by Reuters appears to show citizens coming under fire in Syria's capital city. Activists say shooting broke out at the funerals for three people killed Friday in protests against President Bashar al-Assad. The violence comes as a Chinese envoy met with Assad Saturday and urged all sides to end 11 months of bloodshed, while backing a government plan for elections. Assad describes the turmoil racking Syria as a ploy to split the country. Beijing and Moscow have been Assad's most important international defenders during the crackdown which has killed several thousand people and divided world powers. The United Nations, the United States, Europe, Turkey and Arab powers want Assad to step down and have condemned the ferocious repression. Russia and China vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution calling on Assad to quit and also voted against a similar, non-binding General Assembly resolution on Thursday. Syria's uprising began with civilian protests last March. It now includes a parallel armed struggle led by the loosely organized Free Syria Army, made up of army deserters and local insurgents. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters