8:10am

Fri March 25, 2011
The Two-Way

In Syria: 'Difficult To Know Exactly Which Way It Will Go'

There are reports from Syria of authorities opening fire today on protesters in the southern city of Daraa. We've been updating this post since it was first published at 8:10 a.m ET.

Update at 11:30 a.m. ET. Some Deaths Reported:

CNN and the AP are reporting they've been told by witnesses in Daraa that some protesters were killed when authorities opened fire on them today.

Update at 10:45 a.m. ET. Witness Says Troops Have Fired On Protesters:

The Associated Press just moved this "alert": "a resident of Syrian city of Daraa tells AP that troops have opened fire on protesters."

Update at 10:25 a.m. ET. Report Of Heavy Gunfire In Daraa:

Reuters reports it's been told by a witness that "heavy gunfire" can be heard in Daraa's central square, where thousands of protesters have gathered. The news service also says it's been told that protesters burned a statue of former President Hafez Assad (the current president's father).

Our original post:

There's word from Syria this morning, via The Associated Press, that "protesters shouting for freedom gathered in the capital and other areas around the country Friday as security forces ordered journalists to leave a southern city where a brutal weeklong siege on demonstrations killed dozens of people."

In that southern city, Daraa, "small crowds gathered ... on Friday after calls to attend the funerals of people killed in unprecedented anti-government protests, but there was no immediate sign of protests," Reuters says.

The news from Syria in recent days has varied dramatically — one day there are reports that police shot and killed many of those who have been demanding reforms, the next day the government is saying that it will consider lifting the decades-old emergency laws that govern life there.

On Morning Edition, Damascus-based reporter Phil Sands of The National (a newspaper published in the United Arab Emirates) told show host Renee Montagne that it's "difficult to know exactly" which way things will go in Syria because of the "up and down" way the government of President Bashar Assad has been responding to the protests

As Sands tells Renee, the Assad regime has been sending very mixed signals.


Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Tags: