Syrian security forces killed nine more people yesterday in strikes against thousands of protesters who took to the streets to test whether President Bashar al-Assad's regime would abide by an Arab League plan to end months of violence.
The bloodshed, which took place largely in the central city of Homs, and in the capital, Damascus, was a blow to the 22-nation League of Arab States, which announced on Wednesday that Damascus had agreed to a broad plan that included an end to violence against demonstrators.
Opposition groups called for a large turnout for yesterday's protests to challenge the regime to make good on the agreement and refrain from using deadly force. However, gunfire erupted shortly after the protests began.
Mustafa Osso, a Syria-based human rights lawyer, said: "Today was a real test of the intentions of the regime and the answer is clear to everyone."