Syrian Hospital Says 37 Protesters Killed

Witnesses saw security forces fire on hundreds of young demonstrators.

Syrian nationals demonstrate outside the Syrian Consulate in Dubai. (Karim Sahib/Getty Images)

Reuters reports that the main hospital in the southern Syrian city of Deraa has received the bodies of at least 37 protesters who were killed in a confrontation with security forces on Thursday, according to a hospital official.

The activism in the country, inspired by the wave of pro-democracy protests around the region, has represented the most serious biggest domestic challenge since the 1970s to the repressive Syrian government.

Security forces have responded with water cannons, tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition. On Wednesday afternoon, witnesses say they opened fires on hundreds of youths. Residents are understandably fearful that the government of President Bashar al-Assad is intent on crushing the revolt by force. "If the rest of Syria does not erupt Friday, we will be facing annihilation," said one told Reuters.

It's hard to say what's more impressive: the speed at which pro-democracy movements are spreading, or that the courage of the young people fueling them doesn't even seem to be dampened by stories like this.

Read more at Reuters.

Like The Root on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.