Syrian security forces opened fire on anti-regime protests on Friday, killing at least 15 people, activists said. Meanwhile nearly half-a-million people demonstrated in the city of Hama.
The casualties included two protesters killed in Dmeir a central commercial neighbourhood of Damascus, Abdel Karim Rihawi, who heads the Syrian League for Human Rights, told AFP.
In the central city of Homs, "at least five people were killed in the Al-Khalidya neighbourhood by security forces who opened fire against demonstrators," he added.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 24 people were wounded in Homs and that some people were gravely injured.
The organization chief Rami Abdel Rahman conveyed at least 450,000 Syrians marched after Friday prayers in Hama under the banner "No to dialogue" with Assad's regime. The Hama demonstrators reiterated their "refusal to dialogue with the regime and called for its fall," he said.
Protests also took place in Saqba and Jdeidat Artuz, while 7,000 protesters filed through Qatana north of Damascus, activists said. In the northern town of Raqqa, "security forces fired live rounds and tear gas to disperse protesters, at least one of whom was hurt," said an activist.