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Protests erupt as Syrian uprising heads into second year [Video]

March 16, 2012 | 12:20 pm

Protests exploded again Friday in Syria on the heels of the one-year-anniversary of the uprising against President Bashar Assad. Opposition activists dubbed the rallies "The Friday of immediate military intervention" on Facebook, calling for Arabs and Muslims to step into the conflict first, "followed by the rest of the world."

Fridays, the start of the weekend in Muslim cultures, are the habitual day of protest in Syria. Clashes also were reported between the military and army defectors who have joined the uprising against Assad. Dissidents said 40 people were killed during the day, including six people killed "amid heavy shooting and army deployment" in the northern city of Raqqa.

The video above purports to show a small crowd in the Yadodeh village in Dara, where the uprising began, chanting "the Syrian army is a traitor" and scattering at what sounds like gunfire in the opposite direction. The crowd hastily moves down the road, continuing to shout in support of the rebels.

Because foreign journalists have limited access to Syria, amateur videos such as this one have played an important role in documenting the conflict. The Syrian regime argues that many of the bloody and violent videos are faked and often disputes who was responsible for the violence shown.

With media access restricted in Syria, The Times cannot confirm all of the events shown in these videos. Here are three more glimpses of what's happening today in Syria, as seen in amateur videos. The first video below, uploaded by opposition activists on Friday, purports to show a protest outside of Hama:


The next video below purports to show a street battle with tear gas in Hama. A small group of protesters, some chanting for the rebel Free Syrian Army, appear to throw back billowing canisters, though it isn't clear where they were fired from.

Fending off reports of government shelling in Hama, the official Syrian news agency denied "explosions" had taken place there, quoting an official saying "the city is living a normal life and citizens performed the Friday prayer quietly." This footage was uploaded to YouTube on Friday by opposition activists:


The clip below is said to show a protest inside a mosque in Latakia. "Bashar we don't want you, Syrians raise your hands" demonstrators chant, their fists clenched in the air. The video was uploaded by opposition activists on Friday:


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-- Emily Alpert in Los Angeles and Alexandra Sandels in Beirut