Mass protests erupt across Syria, defying army presence

DAMASCUS - Tens of thousands of Syrians demonstrated in urban centers on Friday in solidarity with the besieged city of Deraa and demanding political freedoms, in defiance of heavy army and security forces deployment.
Demonstrations erupted in at least one Damascus suburb, the central city of Homs and the coastal town of Banias as well as in eastern Syria. Two small protests also started in central Damascus, witnesses, an opposition leader and a human rights group said.