BEIRUT (Reuters) – A Syrian boy, who activists say was tortured and killed by security forces, has emerged as a powerful symbol in protests against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad which have been met with a bloody crackdown.
A childhood snapshot of 13-year-old Hamza al-Khatib has been emblazoned on posters by protesters across Syria after a YouTube video of his bloodied corpse sparked international outrage.
Syrian authorities deny he was tortured, saying he was killed at a demonstration in which armed gangs shot at guards.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was "very concerned" about Khatib's case.
"I think what that symbolizes for many Syrians is the total collapse of any effort by the Syrian government to work with and listen to their own people," Clinton told a news conference. "I can only hope that this child did not die in vain..."