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Regime forces pounded the Damascus suburb of Douma and the central city of Homs on Friday, after one of the bloodiest days of the Syrian uprising in which more than 180 people were killed, a monitor said.
At least 25 people were killed across Syria on Friday - 11 civilians, one rebel and 13 soldiers - the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, adding that anti-regime protests were staged across the country.
Security forces dispersed a demonstration outside a mosque in the Mazzeh district of Damascus, arresting four people, the Britain-based watchdog said. “Regime troops surrounded a number of mosques in the capital to prevent protests after Friday prayers,” it said.
Other demonstrations calling for the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad took place in Aleppo, Daraa, Deir Ezzor, Idlib, Homs and Latakia provinces.
Protesters demonstrated under the slogan “Confident in the victory from God,” an apparent reference to resentment of international efforts which have yet to find a solution to the crisis or to stop the escalating bloodshed.
Activists uploaded videos of the protests to YouTube, one of which showed demonstrators in the heart of the capital shouting:
“Douma, Douma, Douma!” and “Freedom, Freedom Freedom!”
In northwest Idlib province, hundreds of people gathered in the town of Kfar Nubul, chanting against anti-Assad slogans.
They criticised US unwillingness to intervene in Syria, holding a large banner that read: “Kfar Nubul asks for an early presidential election in America. Obama isn't doing well!”
The Observatory said two civilians were killed in “shelling on Douma and its surrounding areas, under continued bombardment by regime forces attempting to gain control” of the capital's suburb.
On Thursday, the highest death toll was in Damascus province with 46 people killed - 41 in Douma alone - the Observatory said.
On Friday, three people died in Deir Ezzor province in the east, where the Local Coordination Committees reported “violent clashes between regime forces and Free Syrian Army fighters.”
Clashes also took place in the southern city of Daraa near a camp for displaced people, while two people were killed in shooting elsewhere in the city and the province.
An officer who had defected was killed in the northwest province of Idlib in an ambush by regime troops at Maaret al-Numan, while three civilians were killed in the province.
And in Latakia province in the northwest, one woman was killed in shelling on the city of Jableh.
Thirteen regime troops were also killed in fighting across the country.
Thursday's death toll of 183 people made it one of the bloodiest days since the revolt began nearly 16 months ago. - Sapa-AFP