Syria 'totally calm' after deadly protests - government

25th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Syria's information minister said Friday the situation was "totally calm" throughout the country following a week of deadly protests in the south.

"There is a totally peaceful climate in the Syrian towns and the terrorists have been arrested," Mohsen Bilal told Spanish radio Cadena Ser.

The incidents that occurred on Wednesday in the southern town of Deraa were sparked by "terrorists" and "very soon we will tell the whole world who they are," said Bilal, a former Syrian ambassador to Spain.

Protests demanding major reforms in Syria spread Friday from Daraa to Damascus, where AFP journalists said police arrested five people.

Mourners also gathered en masse for the funeral of two people killed this week during clashes with security forces in Daraa, where a security clampdown has left 100 dead according to human rights groups. Syrian authorities have put the death toll at 10.

"It is not a climate of protests against the government but these are radicals, terrorists (who) threaten national security from 14 provinces to (lead) a global revolution," said Bilal.

Despite appeals for demonstrations on Friday, "the climate is totally peaceful in the whole country and there is no unrest of any sort," he said.

Those who came onto the streets did so "to hail the decisions of the Syrian government" on Thursday night.

President Bashar al-Assad's government on Thursday said it may scrap an emergency law in place since 1963 and announced the release of all activists detained this month.

© 2011 AFP

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