Syrian security forces shot dead five protesters and wounded scores more on Friday, witnesses said, in a widening crackdown on unrest that has sent thousands of civilians fleeing into Turkey this week.
The Syrian army also swept in on the northwest border town of Jisr al-Shughour on Friday to seize "armed" opponents, state television said, as protests erupted anew around the country despite Bashar al-Assad's increasing resort to armed repression.
Inhabitants said at least 15,000 troops along with some 40 tanks and troop carriers had deployed near Jisr al-Shughour.
Residents said government forces killed five protesters in the village of Busra al-Harir in the southern Hauran plain and also fired on thousands defying a heavy security presence in the southern city of Deraa, fount of the three-month-old revolt against President Assad's authoritarian rule.
"There was a demonstration of 1,000 people when the (security police) fired from their cars," a resident of Busra al-Harir said, giving the names of the dead as Adnan al-Hariri and Abdelmuttaleb al-Hariri. However, state television said unidentified gunmen killed a member of the security forces and a civilian in Busra al-Harir.