At least three people have been killed in Qatana, a suburb of the
capital Damascus, after Syrian security forces used live fire to
disperse hundreds of anti-government demonstrators, activists say.
According to Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr reporting from neighbouring
Lebanon, there were also reports of five protesters being shot
dead in Dael, a southern town located 10km from Deraa, and one
other in Zabadani, a town not far from the Lebanese border.
The killings came amid renewed demonstrations after midday prayers
on Friday, dubbed "day for the Guardians of the Homeland" by
pro-democracy advocates in an effort to reach out to the army to
join their 10-week uprising.
As prayers ended, demonstrations were reported to be taking place
in Idlib, in the country's north west, in Deir al-Zur in the north
east, and in Qamishli, Amouda and Ras al Ain in the Kurdish areas
in Syria's north.
The casualties included three people in Qatana, a suburb of the
capital, and four in the southern village of Dael, according to
local coordination committees in Syria, which helped organize the
protests. One person was also reported killed near the border with
The 10-week protests have evolved from a disparate movement
demanding reforms to a resilient uprising that is now seeking
President Bashar Assad's ouster. On Friday, protests erupted in
the capital, Damascus, and the coastal city of Banias, the central
city of Homs and elsewhere.
Human rights groups say more than 1,000 people have been killed
since the revolt began in mid-March.
Many activists have been opting for nighttime demonstrations and
candlelight vigils in recent days, aiming for a time when the
security presence has thinned out.
"We refuse to let them sleep," a 28-year-old Dael resident said of
the security forces. "We drive them crazy, as soon as they come to
the neighborhood we go quiet and they get lost. And then we start
again when they leave," he told The Associated Press.