Deadly violence reported across around Syria on Friday as troops opened fire on protesters in several cities and pro- and anti-government crowds clashed on the streets of the capital, witnesses said.
Syrian troops shot at demonstrators in the southern city of Daraa after crowds set fire to a bronze statue of the country's late president, Hafez Assad, a resident told The Associated Press. Heavy gunfire could be heard in the city center and witnesses reported several casualties.
An activist told the AP that witnesses had reported one demonstrator shot dead by security forces in the coastal city of Latakia, and another slain in the central city of Homs. He said several people had been hospitalized in Latakia.
Syrian security forces detained scores of people who staged a brief pro-democracy rally in Damascus Friday. Some 200 people shouted chants in support of the people in the south before police and other security officers moved in to arrest them.
In Daraa, close to the Jordanian border, thousands of protesters continued their demonstrations, demanding freedom. Syrian security forces pulled out Thursday from the mosque where several people were killed. The Syrian authorities have banned local reporters and news agencies representatives from entering Daraa.
Reports said demonstrations took place in the city of Homs after Friday prayers in support of the people of Daraa. They also demanded freedom. The demonstrators in Homs, western Syria, also demanded the dismissal of the Governor.