Syrian forces kill 20 protesters after Friday prayers

AMMAN, (Reuters) – Syrian forces shot dead at least  20 protesters yesterday, activists said, as tens of thousands  demanded the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad, chanting  “we will kneel only to God”.

Defiant protest marches unfolded across the country despite  a military crackdown that has intensified since the beginning of  the fasting month of Ramadan, triggering sanctions and  condemnation abroad.

These included protests in the cities of Hama and Deir  al-Zor, both of which have been stormed in tank offensives  launched by Assad at the beginning of the Muslim holy month.

“Assad wants to finish off the uprising before  international pressure becomes too much for him. But people have  gone out of almost every major mosque in Deir al-Zor, metres  away from tanks that occupy every main square and roundabout,” a  resident said.

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