Kurdish demonstrations against the Syrian government have spread. The Kurd War always included Syria, but there was little to report, other than allegations that the Syrian Baathist dictatorship helped support PKK Kurd guerrillas operating inside Turkey. With the toppling of Saddams regime in Iraq and the presence of US troops across the border, Kurds in Syria want assurances that minority rights will be protected inside Syria. On March 12 and 13, a series of demonstrations in Syria were broken up by Syrian riot police. At least 8 people were killed when the riot police opened fire on one crowd March 12 in the town of El Qamishliye. The demonstrations began after a soccer game. A subsequent report said four more people died in El Qamishliye on March 13. Three others died in the towns of Malkiya and Dereek. Some 60 people were injured, many apparently trampled in a panic which followed the shootings on Friday. On March 14 western news sources reported that four Syrian Arabs were killed by Kurds in in El Qamishliye- which suggests the killings are retaliation the for Kurds killed on March 12 and March 13. Kurdish activists claimed that there are around 1.5 million ethnic Kurds in Syria.