Beirut: Thousands rallied in the northern city of Aleppo, which activists said, is the largest turnout since the start of the uprising against President Bashar Assad in March 2011. Syrian security forces fired tear gas and live ammunition to disperse the protestors.
Thousands of people across the country also staged anti-government rallies in solidarity with Aleppo, where anti-regime sentiment has been on the rise particularly after a raid on dormitories at the city`s main university killed four students and forced the temporary closure of the state-run school earlier this month.
The May 3 raid at Aleppo University was an unusually violent incident for the city, a major economic hub that has remained largely loyal to Assad over the course of the country`s 15-month uprising.
Yesterday, some 15,000 students demonstrated outside the gates of Aleppo University in the presence of UN observers, before security forces broke up the protest.
Even bigger numbers took to the streets today.
Aleppo-based activist Mohammad Saeed said it was the largest demonstration there since the start of the uprising. He said more than 10,000 people protested in the Salaheddine and al-Shaar districts alone and thousands protested in other areas of the city.
"The number of protesters is increasing every day and today saw the biggest protests," said Saeed, adding that several people were wounded when government forces tear gas and live ammunition to try and disperse the rally.
The head of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdul-Rahman, said the protest showed "it`s a real uprising happening in Aleppo these days."
Today is the main day of protests across Syria and this week`s demonstrations were dubbed "The Heroes of Aleppo University" in solidarity with the students.