Rights group says 20 protesters killed across Syria

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Syrian forces shot dead at least 20 civilians in attacks on pro-democracy demonstrations across the country on Friday, the Syrian human rights organisation Sawasiah said. Syrians in their thousands took to the streets nationwide for the 17th consecutive Friday to demand an end to President Bashar al-Assad’s 11-year rule, activists said by telephone, defying an intensifying military crackdown on an uprising for political freedoms.
“The security forces are continuing violent repression against peaceful demonstrations demanding freedom and the downfall of the regime, firing live ammunition at most protests all over Syria on Friday,” Sawasiah said in a statement sent to Reuters. Sawasiah said it had the names of 20 people killed in the cities of Latakia, Hama, Homs, Deraa, Kiswa, Deir al-Zor and in and around the capital Damascus.