AMMAN - Syrian security forces shot dead at least three pro-democracy demonstrators on Friday at one of the biggest protests against Syrian President Bashar Assad in the capital Damascus, opposition activists said.
The three youths were killed in the afternoon, following Friday prayers, when thousands of demonstrators marched out of mosques in the Mezze district of the city, which is next to Umaayad Square, a few kilometers from Assad's residence, activists added.
Syria's unrest started out as civilian protests across the country last March but now includes a parallel armed struggle spearheaded by the Free Syria Army.
The rebel fighters have yet to do much more than stage hit-and-run attacks and skirmishes. But Western and Arab powers fear the crisis is sliding into a civil war which could inflame the region's patchwork of religious, ethnic and political rivalries.
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