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Syrian security forces using live ammunition

The New York Times is reporting that Syrian forces are firing on demonstrations to break up the protesters.  Saturday’s actions appear to not be indiscriminate firing on the crowds themselves, but rather a tactic to scare people off the streets.  However,

On Friday, witnesses said security forces opened fire on tens of thousands of protesters in Dara’a, killing 25 people and wounding hundreds. The government said that 19 police officers and members of the security forces were killed when gunmen opened fire.

Neither account could be independently verified. But the government’s claim of casualties could signal plans for a stronger crackdown. State television showed what it said were vandals setting fire to the radio and television building in Dara’a and gunmen shooting randomly in the central city of Homs.

The Syrian government will likely continue to use violence to suppress protesters.  The threat of violence could squash the reform movement, or it could add fuel to the fire.  It is tough to tell which outcome is more likely at this point.

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