Syrian troops block Damascus roads

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Copy of iol pic wld Mideast Syria~7 AP This image made from Syrian State TV video purports to show Syrian troops fighting against Syrian rebels in the Al-Midan area of Damascus.

Damascus, Syria -

Syria's security forces blocked roads leading into Damascus on Friday, as anti-regime protests were called across the country, said an AFP correspondent at the scene.

Roadblocks were also set up across the capital, where members of the security forces inspected drivers' papers and car trunks.

Syrian activists called for nationwide protests under the slogan: “Daraya, a flame that will never die,” in reference to a town near Damascus where the opposition says more than 330 people were killed in an army offensive last week.

A dozen loud explosions were heard, the correspondent said, apparently from the embattled Damascus suburbs.

In the province of the capital, Free Syrian Army rebels captured nine soldiers in Sayyida Zeinab, a southeastern suburb which hosts a Shiite shrine that draws foreign pilgrims, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

North of Damascus, troops bombarded the mountain resort of Rankus, an opposition stronghold, activists said.

Violence in Syria has killed more than 26,000 people since an anti-regime revolt broke out in March 2011, according to the Britain-based watchdog, which relies on a network of activists, doctors and lawyers across the country.

It is impossible to independently verify death counts out of Syria as foreign media access is restricted. - Sapa-AFP

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