Syrian forces killed at least 23 people on Friday, activists said. According to them, "huge demonstrations" were held after weekly prayers in response to calls from an Internet group that urged rallies against President Bashar al-Assad's regime under the banner "death rather than humiliation".
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said eight people were killed as security forces dispersed protests in several suburbs of Damascus, including Douma and Erbeen. Six other people died in Homs province and three in the eastern city of Deir Ezzor, said the Observatory.
State television, meanwhile, reported the security forces killed two armed men after coming under attack in Talbisseh, a town in central Homs province.
Three members of the security forces were killed by "armed terrorist groups who attacked them in Talbisseh, Erbeen and Hammuriyeh," also a Damascus suburb, according to state news agency SANA.
It reported four assailants died in the firefights, while an army captain, Wael el-Ali, was kidnapped in a town of Idlib province.