Syrian security storms school; 4 killed in clashes

September 21, 2011 - 9:10 AM
Mideast Syria

In this undated photo taken between 1997 and 1998 and made available Monday, Sept. 19, 2011, workers install a statue of Syria's former president Hafez al-Assad at the University of Damascus students residency city, in Damascus, Syria. It was built to commemorate al-Assad's re-nomination as leader of Syria's Baath Party and a new presidential term, which will take place in a celebration called as

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian security forces moved against several schools around the country Wednesday and detained students who demonstrated against President Bashar Assad's regime, while troops shot dead at least four people in central Syria, activists said.

The Local Coordination Committees, an activist network, said dozens of students were detained in the southern village of Jassem. Also, security forces surrounded several schools in the Damascus suburbs of Harasta, Arbeen and Zamalka.

Students have been demonstrating against Assad's regime since Sunday, the first day of the school year.

The Syrian uprising began in mid-March, during the wave of protests in the Arab world that toppled autocrats in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. President Bashar Assad has responded with a brutal crackdown that the U.N. estimates has killed some 2,600 people.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said security forces killed three civilians in the central city of Homs and one in the nearby town of Rastan.

It reported that the bodies of three other people who disappeared last week were also either found or handed to their families by authorities in the northern province of Idlib and the central region of Hama.

An amateur video posted online showed people running away in a street in the town of Qusair near the border with Lebanon as cracks of gunfire could be heard. A man could be heard shouting "they are shooting at students in the city of Qusair."

Another video showed the funeral of a school teacher identified as Jihad Haji who was said to have been shot by security forces. Young mourners could be heard chanting "there is no God but God, Assad is the enemy of God" as they carried his coffin in the areas of Waer near the central city of Homs.

The Associated Press could not independently verify the videos or the accounts of violence. Syria has banned most foreign journalists and restricted local media during the revolt