BEIRUT - Syria's President Bashar Assad replaced governors on Sunday in two regions that have seen sustained protests against his rule and activists said security forces killed at least two people in Hama province.
The official SANA news agency said Assad issued a decree appointing Hussein Makhlouf as governor of rural Damascus, the region around the capital, and Yasser Shoufi as governor of the northern province of Idlib, bordering Turkey.
Activists say Assad's forces have raided towns and villages in both provinces this month, hunting for activists and army defectors. The raids have led to clashes between the army and suspected deserters.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said two people were killed by the army early on Sunday. Their funeral later in the day turned into an anti-Assad rally, the British-based group added.