Alarming news from Syria has dominated my Twitter timeline, with reports of up to 150 people allegedly killed by security forces in Daraa, in southern Syria, where anti-regime protests continue.
Earlier estimates of six people killed as Syrian police attacked Al Omari mosque to disperse protesters are now being questioned, as reports of more doom and gloom start to seep out of the town, where communications, including phone and Internet, have been cut off.
Syria is the latest country to join the wave of erupting protests across the Middle East. While previous calls for protests on February 5 failed, a renewed call to take to the streets on March 15 managed to bring several hundred people to the streets in multiple cities including the capital, Damascus, and Aleppo. While the numbers might be small, this constitutes a very important precedent in Syria where anti-government protests are unheard of, and any sign of dissent is squashed with an iron fist.
Daraa has been the epicentre of the protests over the past previous days, and is touted to be what Sidi Bouzid was for the Tunisians. Sidi Bouzid was the city which sparked the Tunisian revolution which toppled Zeine Al Abideen Ben Ali's 23-year-rule.
Syrians online are calling on the international Press and television stations to cover the atrocities being commited by the regime against their people.
Here's the latest buzz from Twitter on developments in Daraa:
@anasqtiesh: A trusted source: 10 000 protested in #Daraa, Security killed 150. If media wants contact I can securely give them phone number. #Syria
@Naboumerhi: 150 persons killed in Daraa.. Not confirmed
@alihabibi1: Reported number of killed in the protests in #Daraa (#Syria) is growing dramatically! Some reported 150 so far!
@FlashNewsPlus: Caller on Alarabiya claims 30 dead in Daraa,Syria as Pro regime forces open fire on protesters
@obeidanahas: #Deraa residents accuse Maher alAsad (President Bashar's brother) and Hafiz Makhlouf (Bashar's cousin) #Syria #March15 #Mar15 #15Mar #Daraa
@daraanow: URGENT: #AlThawra Newspaper spokesman reports more than 30 of dead bodies laying in streets of #Daraa #Syria & people can't rescue
@anniekryz: Disconcerting news coming out of Daraa province in Syria http://bit.ly/dKUZUh This regime could be as fierce as Gaddafi's in quelling unrest
@Mohammad_Syria: New video: Thousands in the funeral of martyrs of #Omari mosque massacre march 23 http://bit.ly/eN70g9 #Daraa #Syria #mar15
@SyrianRage: #Daraa #Syria #Omari #Mosque #Massacre situation on ground FEARED WORSE than media streamed so far
@SyrianRage: Women of #Daraa #Syria kiss their children good by telling them We want to be PRWOD of YOU Don't let us down #Mar23 #Massacre
@wissamtarif: Syrian forces is raiding house in Al Qrayya and other areas in Swayada #Syria #Daraa #March15
@abdullahali7: Some bodies at #Deraa hospitals for people from of other towns, e.g. “Al-harrah” #Syria #March15 #Mar15 #15Mar #Daraa
@abdullahali7: Some #Deraa residents: Dr Ali Ghassab Almahamid was heavily wounded then was suffocated to death #Syria #March15 #Mar15 #15Mar #Daraa
@jamesgoodmane: Mazen Darwish, the director of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression, is also being held #Syria #March15 #Daraa
@Kholoudmansour1: Dear Tweeps: can we b really effective & professional. Can we only tweep what's confirmed 100% for the sake of #Daraa #Syria
@zecnor7: @iDeskCNN @nytimesworld @BBCWorld @HuffingtonPost CAN WE HAVE MORE REPORTS ON SYRIAN MASSACRE IN #DERAA #DARAA ?!
@FuriousSyrian: how many security forces are there in #Syria? enough to arrest the whole country? they can take over #Daraa town, not the entire country!!
Stay tuned for more from Syria as the story unfolds and more details emerge.