'Forces fire at protesters as unrest spreads in Syria'

Witness says several hundred protesters attacked in city of Tel; Assad deploys tanks in central, coastal areas ahead of Friday prayers in test of will for anti-gov't demonstrators calling for "day of defiance."

Tank Syria Deraa 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Tank Syria Deraa 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Protests broke out across Syria on Friday, with thousands calling for freedom in the Kurdish east and dozens briefly marching in Damascus to demand the ousting of President Bashar al-Assad, activists and witnesses said.
But the army, which stormed the southern city of Deraa last month to crush resistance in the cradle of the seven-week uprising, deployed tanks in the central city of Homs and security forces quickly dispersed the Damascus protest.