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Syria - Jul 1, 2011 - 18:39

Last modified: 1 Jul 2011 15:39

An eyewitness in Aleppo tells Al Jazeera that the largest protests against President Assad’s regime to date in the city have been crushed by pro-regime thugs and security forces.

An estimated 10,000 people took to streets across the city, which is Syria's commercial capital. 

Around 3,000 protesters gathered in Seif al-Dawleh neighbourhood, the witness said, but were attacked and brutally beaten by regime thugs, police and security forces using electric sticks and teargas. When protestors several times tried to re-gather the secret police and riot police again attacked them.

"This time no pro-regime demonstration took place. Usually they take place at the same time, to try and drown out anti-regime protests," he said. "It seems like security forces are avoiding opening fire because that would just spark mass protests in Aleppo."

The eyewitness said between 40 and 70 people were arrested with protesters fighting off security forces as they tried to arrest a woman.

Other protests took place in Ashrafiyeh, al-Asakhour and Bab al-Hadeed neighbourhoods and at the University of Aleppo.