April 13 - Four protesters were shot dead in Syria on Friday and an army officer was killed on the second day of a nationwide ceasefire meant to open a path to peaceful political dialogue after 13 months of extreme violence. Katharine Jackson reports.
Gunshots echo through buildings that stand in ruins. Images in amateur video that purport to show Homs, Syria on Friday - Day two of a nationwide ceasefire meant to bring peace after more than a year of violence. Obtained from a social media web site, the video cannot be independently verified by Reuters. More video - also uploaded to the internet - appears to shows protesters rallying against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, chanting "Assad is an enemy of Allah." Syrians took to the streets after Friday's Muslim prayers...many trusting that the ceasefire would protect them from army bullets. Still, activists said four protesters were shot dead. And an army officer also died in the violence, the government said ... evidence of the fragile agreement. Assad has accepted the terms of the United Nations-brokered ceasefire, which calls on the army and rebels to stop shooting. Rebels in the northern city of Taftanaz train with guns and pray on Thursday in this video obtained by Reuters. They say they will honor the ceasefire, but will not back down if challenged. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) UNIDENTIFIED REBEL SAYING: "We are committed to the truce, but we have the right to defend ourselves. If they do not attack us, we will not attack them." The United Nations says Assad's forces have killed 9,000 people since an uprising against him erupted 13 months ago. Authorities blame the violence on foreign-backed militants who they said have killed more than 2,500 police and soldiers. Katharine Jackson, Reuters.