Hundreds take part in 'day of rage' demonstrations in Damascus, Deir ez-Zor and Halab; Syrian official says 'many residents received inciting text messages originating in army base in Palestine'
Hundreds of people protested in a number of cities across Syria on Tuesday. According to the Al-Arabiya network, demonstrations were held in the capital Damascus, Deir ez-Zor and Halab.
Meanwhile, dozens of people rallied outside the Syrian embassy in Cairo against President Bashar Assad and his regime. During a nearby counter-rally, Assad supporters waved placards bearing the image of the Syrian leader.
Videos of the protests showed hundreds of people gathered in a market in Damascus. The protestors, mainly young men and women, called out "God, Syria and liberty" and "We will liberate Syria with blood and fire." There were no reports of clashes with security forces during these rallies.
In recent days activists used online social networks to declare Tuesday as a "day of rage" in Syria, also calling it "The March 15 intifada". One such post urged residents of northern Syria to "destroy buildings belonging to the ruling party and scribble anti-regime slogans on walls".
Well aware of the online activity, the regime in Damascus tried to appeal to the citizens' anti-Israel sentiments. The Al Watan daily on Tuesday morning quoted "an official in a Syrian communications company" as saying that "a large number of residents complained that they had received text messages on their cell phones calling on them to join the riots."
The same source was also quoted as saying that an investigation found that the messages had been sent from "a military base in Tel Hashomem (apparently referring to Tel Hashomer in Tel Aviv area) in Palestine, where the Israeli army concentrates its intelligence units."
The source told Al Watan that "the Israeli enemy could not have done this without help from one of the satellite communications companies."
The past few weeks have seen a number of anti-regime protests in Syria. About two weeks ago hundreds of Syrian women demonstrated in Damascus against the recent price hikes in the Arab country. A few days prior to that rally a number of smaller protests were held in Syria, during which unidentified protestors spray-painted anti-government slogans on walls.