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Syria troops 'kill 17 protesters'

Syrian troops have killed at least 17 people in raids on anti-government protesters, activists said.

But thousands of protesters poured onto the streets across the country as the uprising against President Bashar Assad's rule stretched into a seventh month.

The activists reported new demonstrations from the capital, Damascus, and its suburbs to the southern province of Daraa, where the protest movement was born in mid-March.

Crowds also gathered in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour as well as the province of Latakia on the Mediterranean coast and central regions.

The Friday protests - which have become a weekly ritual after the midday Muslim prayer services - were held under the banner "We will continue until we bring down the regime."

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said security forces shot dead 17 protesters. The greatest bloodshed was in the north-western region of Jabal al-Zawiya, where 10 people were killed in raids. At least five people were killed in the central province of Hama and two in the central city of Homs.

Syria-based rights activist Mustafa Osso said thousands also took to the streets of predominantly Kurdish north-eastern towns.

The Local Co-ordination Committees, an activist network, put the death toll from protests and raids at 19.

State-run TV said a policeman was killed and four wounded on Friday when they came under fire in the village of Busra Hariri in the southern province of Daraa.

Syria has disputed accounts of civilian deaths and says the regime is fighting terrorists and thugs.


From Belfast Telegraph