Dramatic amateur footage has emerged from cities across Syria of an apparently brutal crackdown by government forces after the biggest demonstrations in months.
Hundreds of thousands of pro-democracy protesters took to the streets across Syria’s towns and cities after Friday prayers as an Arab League monitoring mission observed.
Government forces purportedly used water cannons to disperse protesters in the southern city of Daraa. Amateur video also purports to show an Arab League observer reporting to have witnessed snipers in the city.
“We saw them with our own eyes. We call on the authorities to remove them immediately. We will contact the Arab League immediately and if they do not comply within 24 hours, there will be other measures,” he said.
In Hama, a group of men appear to run into the street to retrieve a body as heavy gunfire rang out.
The authenticity of the amateur material cannot be verified as Syria has banned most foreign journalists and prevented independent reporting inside the country.
Other footage purported to show clashes between security forces and anti-government protesters in the Damascus neighbourhood of Douma on Friday.
In one video a crowd is seen running along, reportedly in Douma, before an explosion is seen on the street ahead. The camera drops and it appears the cameraman was injured in the blast. It was not clear what caused the blast.
In another video, a teenage boy is seen being carried by a group of men. He has blood on his face and has allegedly been injured in clashes with Syrian security.
Despite the presence of the monitors, activists said Syrian forces killed at least 19 people on Friday, most of them shot during anti-government protests.