BEIRUT (AP) - Syrian security forces killed at least seven people, including a 13-year-old boy, as thousands of protesters poured out of mosques and marched through cemeteries Tuesday at the start of Eid al-Fitr, a holiday when pious Muslims traditionally visit graves and pray for the dead.
The three-day holiday marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, a time of introspection many protesters had hoped would become a turning point in the 5-month-old uprising. Instead, the government crackdown on dissent intensified and the conflict has become a bloody stalemate.
"They can shoot and kill as much as they want, we will not stop calling for regime change," an activist in Daraa told the Associated Press by telephone, asking for anonymity out of fear of reprisals.
In Washington, the Obama administration announced a new set of sanctions on Syria. The regulations ban Americans from doing business with President Bashar Assad's foreign minister, Walid al-Moallem, and two other senior officials, senior adviser Buthaina Shaaban; and Ali Abdul Karim Ali, Syria's ambassador to Lebanon. The Treasury Department's action Tuesday also blocks any assets the Syrian officials may have in the United States.