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Syrian women 'demand release of menfolk'

Syrian women 'demand release of menfolk'
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Hundreds of women in Syria are said to have marched in protest at mass arrests of men in their town.

Reports from Jordan quote human rights activists as saying that security forces rounded up the men in Baida on Tuesday following anti-government demonstrations. Police are said to have gone into houses and arrested men under the age of 60.

The nearby town of Banias is said to have been sealed off.

Protests which began in Deraa three weeks ago have been marred by violence which the government blames on foreign interference, armed groups and ‘infiltrators.’ The authorities have described protests as being part of a conspiracy to sow sectarian strife. They have denied accusations that security forces had prevented medical supplies from reaching besieged areas.

The demonstrators have launched an unprecedented challenge to the authorities, who are accused by human rights groups of using excuses to launch a bloody clampdown.