By Ria Novosti
Syrian security forces stormed the Damascus suburb of Saqba, the scene of last week’s mass opposition demonstration, Al Arabiya reported on Thursday.
Soldiers in combat gear broke into houses and made arrests without even saying who they were, a local resident told Al Arabiya.
The arrests came after thousands of Syrians joined a peaceful demonstration in Saqba as well as in the cities of Homs, Hama, Qamishli and Banias to support residents of the southern city of Daraa who have remained under siege by security forces since April 25.
Human rights activists said at least 1,000 people have been arrested across the country since Saturday, while Syrian President Bashar al-Assad tightened the use of arms against protesters.
Earlier on Thursday, Syrian news agency SANA said that the Syrian Army deployed in Daraa (102 kilometers from the capital of Damascus) started to gradually move out of the city after a 10-day siege.
“Life in the city of Daraa has been gradually returning to normal after the Army units accomplished their mission, during which scores of terrorists were arrested to stand trial,” SANA said.
According to human rights groups, the death toll in besieged Deraa has reached 50, while the number of civilians killed by pro-Assad forces has topped 500 since the protests sparked on March 18.