Damascus: Security forces shot dead a woman
and beat up Syria`s best-known political cartoonist today, a
day after violence in which 11 civilians and eight soldiers
were killed, activists said.
The woman was shot dead during a military operation in a
village near the eastern oil hub of Deir Ezzor, 460 kilometres
northeast of Damascus, said the Britain-based Syrian
Observatory for Human Rights.
Activists also said masked security forces personnel and
pro-regime shabiha militiamen grabbed cartoonist Ali Ferzat at
the capital`s Ummayad square while he was returning home by
car at 4:30 am (0130 GMT).
"The attackers stole the contents of his briefcase,
including his drawings and other personal belongings," said
the Local Coordination Committees (LCC), which groups
activists on the ground.
"He was beaten hard, notably on his hands. Passers-by
found him on the road to the airport and he was taken to
hospital," the LCC`s Omar Idlbi said in a statement.
Since the start of an anti-regime uprising in March,
Ferzat, one of the Arab world`s most renowned cartoonists, has
published cartoons critical of the brutal crackdown on
"The Syrian security forces are fully responsible for
what happens to Ali Ferzat, especially as he had recently
undergone a spinal operation," Idlbi added.
The Observatory said "an armed gang kidnapped and
assaulted Ali Ferzat. He has bruises on the face and hands.
They (the gunmen) then threw him out of a car on the road
to the airport."
A friend who visited Ferzat in hospital told AFP that two
fingers of his left hand were broken, his right arm was
fractured, the left eye badly bruised and blood oozed from his
Yesterday, 11 people were killed, according to the
Observatory: seven in Homs province, two in Deir Ezzor, one in
Idlib and one in Damascus, where security forces opened fire
at Midane square on youths offering condolences to a young man
who died under torture.
The same day, eight Syrian soldiers were killed in two
attacks in Homs province of central Syria, the official SANA
news agency reported.
An officer and two soldiers were killed in an attack on a
military bus in the town of Talbisa, and five military men
died in an attack on their vehicle at Al-Rastan, further
north, it said.