Fifty to 100 protesters have been killed by Syrian security services in the largest protests to take place in the country for decades. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the use of deadly force against protesters as “unacceptable”.
Syria has been governed under an Emergency Law since 1962, resulting in the effective suspension of most constitutional protections for citizens. Hafez al-Assad was in power for 30 years and his son Bashar al-Assad has been in power for the past 10 years.
Homs is a city in western Syria and the capital of the Homs Governorate. It is 501 metres (1,644 ft) above sea level and is located 101 miles north of Damascus. Located on the Orontes River, Homs is also the central link between the interior cities and the Mediterranean coast.
Homs is a major industrial center in Syria, and with a population of 1,500,000, and is the third largest city in the country. Homs population reflects Syria’s general religious diversity, composed mostly of Arabic-speaking Sunni Muslims, with a Christian minority.
Protest, tear gas use on March 25, 2011.