AMMAN, (Reuters) – Syrian security forces fired live rounds at thousands of protesters in the central city of Homs, a local activist said, as renewed pro-democracy demonstrations erupted across the country on Friday.
Thousands rallied in Damascus, Banias, Qamishli, Homs and Hama, defying heavy security deployed to quell an uprising against the autocratic rule of President Bashar al-Assad, witnesses and activists said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the coastal city of Banias, which was stormed by the army this month, witnessed the largest demonstration since the uprising began in southern Syria nine weeks ago.
“The sound of gunfire is being heard now in Banias. The demonstration erupted although around 1,000 people from the city and around it have been detained in the last few weeks,” a spokesman for the Observatory said.
Security forces fired teargas on thousands of protesters in the city of Hama north of Homs, where a combined crowd of around 20,000 people had gathered in two separate areas, a witness said.
Security Forces also used teargas to disperse around 1,000 protesters in the town of Tel north of Damascus, another witness said.