Belgian authorities arrest some 60 Kurds following riots at Syrian embassy
Around 60 Kurds were arrested overnight in Brussels after up to 20 demonstrators stormed the Syrian embassy premises following deadly clashes between Kurds and police in Syria originally sparked by fighting between rival football fans, police said Sunday.
The incident took place after 14 Kurds, including three children, were killed in two days of clashes with police in northern Syria, Kurdish Syrian representatives had said in Damascus Saturday.
One of the embassy demonstrators doused himself with gas (petrol) but did not have time to set himself ablaze, two guards told AFP at police headquarters. No one appears to have been injured in the Brussels protest, they added.
"I was called by the security of the embassy while a few persons were trying to force their way into the garden," Syrian Ambassador Toufiq Salloum said.
"They forced themselves into the garden. They threw stones."
Syria has ordered an inquiry into what happened in Qamishli on the Turkish border, some 600 kilometers northwest of the capital Friday and Saturday, Syrian state television earlier reported.
On Saturday, dozens of people sustained bullet wounds in Qamishli and two neighbouring towns as thousands of Kurds gathered to protest against the police deaths Friday.
"There is no problem with the Kurds in Syria. But Friday, there was a football game," where rival supporters clashed, said the ambassador.
The ambassador did not say whether demonstrators managed to enter the embassy building in Brussels after forcing their way into the garden.
Several windows and mirrors in the building were broken, chairs overturned and the floor was littered with glass and stones.
The ambassador said he had asked Belgian authorities to tighten security around the embassy premises.
Meanwhile, Syrian officials have expressed growing concern from the unfolding events.
The government-run Tishreen daily quoted a "media source" as saying that the riots and the destruction of governmental buildings in Hasakeh governate caused damage to Syria's reputation as a "stable country."
The source added those responsible for these acts would be punished severely according to the country's laws. It should be noted that Syrian police barred journalists from entering Qamishli following the recent developments. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)