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Syrian rebellion swells, governor fired

Syrian rebellion swells, governor fired
Mothers, wives, sisters and children of Syrian anti-government men who were arrested by the security forces hold banners and shout slogans during a protest demanding to release them in the town of Nawa, Darra city, Syria, on May 4, 2011. UPI | License Photo

DAMASCUS, Syria, July 2 (UPI) -- Anti-government protests in Syria have reached record levels since they began in March, a rights observer said Saturday.

In the city of Hama, tens of thousands of chanting people calling for the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad took to the streets Friday, which brought a response from the federal government, the BBC said.

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Soon after, state television announced the governor of Hama had been fired for not putting down the protests.

"The Syrian president signed a decree today relieving Dr. Ahmad Khaled Abdel Aziz of his post as governor of Hama," the broadcaster said.

Large demonstrations were also reported in Damascus, Aleppo, Latakia and Homs, the report said.

Rami Abdel Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told the BBC Friday marked "the biggest demonstration since the Syrian Revolution broke out" in mid-March.

In 1982, an uprising in Hama against the president's father Hafez al-Assad resulted in some 10,000 deaths when the military mounted a full-out offensive on protesters.

Various rights groups have placed a death toll at more than 1,300 civilians and an estimated 350 security personnel in the uprising.

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