Security forces open fire on protesters in Syria


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The Independent Online

Syrian security forces opened fire on anti-government protesters after Friday prayers at mosques around the country yesterday, as the army sent reinforcements to a southern area where army defectors launched deadly attacks on regime troops.

The Local Co-ordination Committees and the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least one person was killed in Homs, where more than 200,000 people marched against President Bashar al-Assad's government.

The protests came a day after army defectors killed 27 security personnel in Deraa in apparently co-ordinated attacks that were among the deadliest by rebel troops so far. An activist in Homs said about 10,000 protesters took part in a rally, at which crowds chanted "The people want to execute the President." Security forces showed restraint, watching from a distance, said one activist. "It might be a goodwill gesture by the regime ahead of the Russian initiative," the activist said, referring to Russian attempts at the UN to end the crisis.

Russia began circulating a draft UN Security Council resolution on Thursday it said was designed to resolve the conflict in Syria.