Thousands of Syrians took to the streets across the country on Friday in response to calls by pro-democracy activists who urged citizens to turn out in support of a "dignity strike... which will lead to the sudden death of this tyrant regime." The British based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 41 civilians, including seven children, were shot dead by Syrian security forces.
It said in a statement on Saturday that 12 people -- among them two children aged 10 and 12 -- were killed in Homs and that a 14-year-old boy was killed in Aqrab village in the Homs area. In the city of Hama five civilians were shot dead by security forces. In Damascus province, 18 civilians including two children were shot dead in Duma, Saqba, Kfar Batna, Hamourieh and Dmeir. In Dera'a, cradle of the revolt that erupted in mid-March, a woman and a young girl were killed. And near the Turkish frontier in the north, in Idlib province, two civilians including a 15-year-old youth were killed in Maaret Numan town, and a taxi driver was shot dead in the same area.
Activists have also called for a campaign of civil disobedience from Sunday, the first day of the working week in Syria, with sit-ins at work, the closure of shops, universities and later a general strike. The Local Coordination Committees, which organises anti-regime protests on the ground in Syria, said the campaign would "snowball" and the strike is "the first step in an overall civil disobedience" campaign to overthrow the regime.
The opposition Syrian National Council warned of a looming final assault on Homs using the pretext of what the regime had called a "terrorist" attack Thursday on an oil pipeline."The regime (is) paving the way to commit a massacre in order to extinguish the revolution in Homs," said the SNC, a coalition of Assad opponents. Witnesses in the city have reported a buildup of troops and pro-regime "shabiha" militiamen in armoured vehicles who have set up more than 60 checkpoints, the SNC said.
An Arab League ministerial task force had been due to meet in the Qatari capital to mull a response to Syria which wants the League to lift sanctions in return for allowing observers to enter in order to monitor the unrest.But reports from Doha and Cairo suggested the meeting on Syria would be held in mid-December.
UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay has said that at least 4,000 people have been killed in a government crackdown on dissent in Syria since the anti-regime protest movement started in March.
Pillay is to brief the UN Security Council about Syria and the wider Middle East at a meeting on Monday -- her second address to the world body since August when the number of dead was estimated at more than 2,000.