Violence erupts in Syria

At least 10 people are said to have died in renewed protests across Syria against President Bashar al-Assad.

Security forces fired tear gas and bullets after Friday prayers in the capital Damascus, but Syrian state TV blamed unidentified gunmen for some deaths.

The EU has expanded sanctions against the government.

More than 1,300 people have been killed and thousands more detained since a crackdown on anti-government protests began in March, activists claim.

Syrians across the country took to the streets in large numbers after prayers, as they have on every Friday for the last 100 days.

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Tear gas and gunfire are reported to have been used in Midan in Damascus and in Kiswah, south of the capital.

In the town of Salamia near Homs, where the Ismaili minority predominates, an unprecedented number of protesters marched.

The government is seeking a national dialogue with the opposition, but on the ground the situation is still dominated by violence and arrests.

Snipers shot dead at least three protesters in the capital’s Barzeh district, witnesses said. But Syrian state TV blamed the deaths on unidentified gunmen who had opened fire on civilians and security force members.

In the north, Syrian residents have continued to flee a widening crackdown by the army.

Turkish state media said more than 1,500 people crossed the border from Syria on Thursday after troops and tanks moved into the Syrian border village of Khirbet al-Jouz.

A total of 11,700 Syrian have taken refuge in Turkey, the Turkish government says.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the reported Syrian troop movements were “very worrisome”.

The EU has also drafted a declaration describing the “unacceptable and shocking violence the Syrian regime continues to apply on its own citizens”.