Cal Perry · @calperryAJ

23rd Apr 2011 from Twitlonger

Full transcript of the phone report I did min after what I saw in #Izraa #Syria #AJE

"I was travelling north to south on the main Damascus highway that runs from Damascus to Amman, and about 20km before the border, there's an overpass that connects Izraa to the town of Deraa. On that overpass, people were marching and we were sort of warned off on that highway, people stopping, pulling us over to the side of the road. And about 50 metres in front of me you could see the overpass - people marching - and they were met with a hail of gunfire, many people certainly wounded directly in front of us, cars turned around, and I can tell you it was an incredibly chaotic scene, and it seems as though pretty much everyone down here in the southern part of the country is now carrying weapons. It is unclear who was firing at whom, that's part of the confusion ... but clearly a very violent incident now being carried out here in the south of the country.

"It seemed pretty clear to me that this was a funeral procession crossing over the overpass, and they were met with gunfire as I said. It was unclear which direction the gunfire was coming from. I did not see anyone returning fire, I only saw fire in one direction. But as I said, the road has been completely cut off, and there is now a very heavy army presence along the highway.

"Pretty much all of the side roads that lead into the towns to the east and to the west of the main highway ... have been cut completely off by the army.

"I think it's pretty clear now that the government feels that the eyes of the world are elsewhere, and that this is the best way to deal with what they are calling an armed insurrection ... we saw this yesterday, and clearly we're seeing this again today. The government was clearly anticipating funerals like this, and clearly was anticipating that violence could break out at these funerals, people are obviously very angry because they've had family members who have been killed, and I think the government was anticipating violence, but what I witnessed was a clear, brutal use of force on behalf of the security forces.

"Medical personnel could not get to this overpass, because of the situation."

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