Despite government promises two days ago to pull back from intense confrontations with protesters, Syrian security forces fanned out in force after Friday prayers, surrounding mosques to prevent demonstrations and using gunfire to disperse crowds, opposition groups said.
At least 15 civilians were reported killed, according to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Forces surrounded the Abu Bakr mosque in Baniyas, assaulting some people as they left and trapping hundred of others inside to prevent them from protesting, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Forces also spread out near the Fattahi mosque in Lattakia, according to the Local Coordinating Committees, which helps organize protests inside the country.
Explosions shook a Daraa neighborhood, and forces used gunfire to disperse protesters in Deir Ezzor, the human rights group said, while the LCC said demonstrators marched in Hasakeh and Hama. Government snipers also were deployed around the commercial market and mosques, the LCC said.
Six of the deaths were reported in the northwestern city of Homs, while two others died in Daraa, in the south, two on the Syria-Jordan border and the rest in villages scattered across Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Meanwhile, Syria's official news agency SANA reported that 13 soldiers and police officers were killed fighting "armed terrorist groups" in Hama, Homs and Idlib. The agenc... >>>
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