Syrian forces fire into crowds as thousands protest

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 fired live rounds into crowds gathered for at least two protests in the central city of Homs, an activist in the city said, as pro-democracy demonstrations erupted across the country on Friday.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the coastal city of Banias, which was stormed by the army this month, witnessed the largest demonstration since the uprising began in southern Syria nine weeks ago.
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Thousands joined protests in Banias, , the capital Damascus and Homs, witnesses and activists said, defying heavy troop and security deployment to quell street protests against the autocractic rule of President Bashar Assad.
The renewed protests come a fay after Syria condemned sanctions imposed by Washington on Assad and other officials in response to the crackdown on protests.
An official source on Syrian state television said the sanctions were targeting the Syrian people and served Israeli interests. "The sanctions have not and will not affect Syria's independent will," the source was quoted as saying.