Following a violent crackdown on protesters by the Syrian government, demonstrators once again clashed with police on Saturday, setting fire to government buildings in the coastal city of Latakia. Ammar Qurabi, the head of Syria's National Organization for Human Rights, said people staged an anti-government protest before attacking the Baath party building. Meanwhile in the southern city of Daraa, witnesses say security forces have withdrawn to the outskirts. In Daraa on Friday, police fired on protesters who were attacking a statue of late President Hafez Assad. Later that night, thousands of enraged protesters grabbed weapons from a smaller number of soldiers and chased them out of the old city, retaking control of the mosque that's been the epicenter of demonstrations. In an attempt to appease protesters, President Bashar al-Assad pulled soldiers from Daraa and released hundreds of political prisoners.
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