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SYRIA: Momentum builds as uprising reaches six-month mark [VIDEO]

September 15, 2011 |  7:44 am

Protests continued throughout Syrian villages late Wednesday, which marked the eve of the uprising's six-month anniversary. At least eight protesters were reported dead, three each in Hama and Homs, and one in each Aleppo and and Idleb.

The uprising stands as the biggest challenge to the four-decade-long rule of Syrian President Bashar Assad's family. The United Nations estimates that more than 2,600 have died over the last six months. In the video above, protesters in Zamalka, a suburb of the capital Damascus, take to the streets in after-hours demonstrations, colorful banners in hand. 

"Where are the Arab people?" they sing in reference to the general silence that has characterized the Arab League response to the brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters. 

"The Syrian doesn't accept humiliation, and God is with us," they chant, holding up banners calling for international support.

Syrian activists have been recently calling on the international community for protection in the last months. On Friday, large and widely attended protests were dubbed "the Friday of international protection."

The crackdown continued in Idleb, where hundreds have died. Security forces raided houses Wednesday night, leaving the area in ruins and shooting randomly at residential buildings.

Idleb, as the hometown of many army defectors, has seen some of the bloodiest military offensives as security forces continue their manhunt for officers who have left the military in protest of the regime's actions. 

But fresh attacks did little to curb protests in Idleb.

In the video above, protesters in Adnan, an area in Idleb, clap throughout the streets on Wednesday night.

"We will only kneel to God," they sing defiantly. 

Protests have remained widely attended throughout Syria despite the high casualty count. 

"Taking to the streets is like suicide. Things have been getting crazier and more violent. Security forces see you on the street once and you are finished. Either you or one of your family members," said Ahmad, a 36-year-old shopkeeper in Aleppo. 

Aleppo, Syria's largest city, has generally remained on the sidelines during the Syrian uprising, but activists report a recent increase in participation among its residents. In the video above, protesters in Aleppo gather Wednesday night, a large Syrian pre-Baathist flag in their midst as they ask the Syrian president to "leave."

The Arab Baath party, brought into power by the Assad family, has ruled Syria for 40 years and monopolized political influence.

"We wave the flag of Syria as it was known before the Baath party to remind the communities of the world that there was a Syria before Bashar, and there will be a Syria after him," said Ahmad. 

-- Roula Hajjar in Beirut

Videos: Images said to show demonstrators gathering in a Damascus suburb to call for international protection; protesters take to the streets Idleb amid fresh military offensives; residents of Aleppo break their silence and call on President Assad to leave. Credit: YouTube.

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