At least 30 dead after forces fire at crowd in Syria

Crowds come under fire in at least 2 protests in Homs; rights group says largest demonstration since uprising began being held in Banias.

Protesters in Syrian city of Homs 311 (R) (photo credit: Reuters)
Protesters in Syrian city of Homs 311 (R)
(photo credit: Reuters)
AMMAN - Syrian security forces shot deadat least 30 demonstrators on Friday during protests that brokeout across the country in defiance of a military crackdown whichhas killed hundreds of people, a rights activist said.
Other activists reported demonstrations across Syria, fromBanias and Latakia on the Mediterranean coast to the oilproducing region of Deir al-Zor, Qamishli in the Kurdish eastand the Hauran Plain in the south, one day after the UnitedStates told President Bashar al-Assad to reform or step down.

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Syria has barred most international media since the protestsbroke out two months ago, making it impossible to verifyindependently accounts from activists and officials.

"No dialogue with tanks," said banners carried by Kurdishprotesters who shouted "azadi", the Kurdish word for freedom,rejecting promises by the authorities for a national dialogue, awitness said.

Protests erupted in Damascus suburbs and the capital'sBarzeh district, where two witnesses said security forces firedat protesters and chased them in the streets.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is based inBritain, said at least 831 civilians had been killed since theuprising against autocratic rule erupted in the southern city ofDeraa nine weeks ago. It said at least 10,000 people had beenarrested, including hundreds across Syria on Friday. Some protesters were calling for freedom, activists said,while others called for "the overthrow of the regime", theslogan of uprisings which toppled leaders in Egypt and Tunisia.

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