At least three people have been killed in Qatana, a suburb of the capital Damascus, after Syrian security forces used live fire to disperse hundreds of anti-government demonstrators, activists say.
According to Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr reporting from neighbouring Lebanon, there were also reports of five protesters being shot dead in Dael, a southern town located 10km from Deraa, and one other in Zabadani, a town not far from the Lebanese border.
The killings came amid renewed demonstrations after midday prayers on Friday, dubbed “day for the Guardians of the Homeland” by pro-democracy advocates in an effort to reach out to the army to join their 10-week uprising.
As prayers ended, demonstrations were reported to be taking place in Idlib, in the country’s north west, in Deir al-Zur in the north east, and in Qamishli, Amouda and Ras al Ain in the Kurdish areas in Syria’s north.
Bid to win over army
An eyewitness to the early morning attacks in Dael told Al Jazeera that the secret police opened fire on a crowd of around 3,000 locals who were returning to town from a peaceful march to the army barracks on the outskirts.
He said the crowd was chanting, “The people and army are one hand”.
The march had passed off peacefully, until the secret police opened fire on the crowd as tanks entered the town, he said.