Dubai: More than 3,000 women and children protested on Wednesday in Syria's coastal city of Baniyas demanding the release of their husbands and children who were arrested by the security forces following Friday's unrest in the city.
The women stopped under the bridge of Al Marqab on the highway and said they would not return home until their demands were met.
In focus: Unrest in the Middle East
Speaking to Gulf News, Hasnaa M, participant in the protest, said women chanted the two kilometres from the city centre to the Al Marqab Bridge as they called for peace. They also chanted the slogan adopted by the protesters in all cities: Allah (God), Soria (Syria), Horriya wa Bas (and Liberty).
Hasnaa said another group from Al Bayda Village (10 kilometres to the south of Baniyas) gathered under the Bustan Bridge to demand the release of more than 200 men and children arrested by the security forces in the past two days.
There was no independent source to verify Hasnaa's claims. A human rights lawyer earlier said security forces had arrested 200 residents in Al Bayda, killing two people.
"They brought in a tele-vision crew and forced the men they arrested to shout 'We sacrifice our blood and our soul for you, [Al] Bashar' while filming them," the lawyer, who was in contact with residents of the town, said.
"Syria is the Arab police state par excellence. But the regime still watches international reaction, and as soon as it senses that it has weakened, it turns more bloody," said the lawyer, who did not want to be further identified.