By Bassem Mroue and Elizabeth Kennedy-Associated Press, from The Washington Times
BEIRUT â€” Syrian security forces fired bullets and tear gas Friday at tens of thousands of protesters across the country, killing at least 75 people in the bloodiest day of the monthlong uprising and signaling that the authoritarian regime was prepared to turn more ruthless to put down the revolt against President Bashar Assad.
Among the dead were a 70-year-old man and two boys ages 7 and 10, Amnesty International said. In the southern town of Izraa, a man ran carrying the body of a young boy, whose hair was matted with blood from a gaping wound on his head, as another child wept and shouted, â€œMy brother!â€ Footage of the scene was posted on the protest movementâ€™s main Facebook pace.
In other towns, protesters scattered for cover from sniper bullets, then dragged corpses through the streets. Mobile phone images showed the bodies lined up on the floor inside buildings.
The rallies, most marching out from mosques after Fridayâ€™s noon Muslim prayers, erupted in towns and cities stretching along the breadth of the country, including in at least two suburbs of the capital, Damascus.
The death toll was likely to rise, raising fears that there will be an explosion of violence Saturday as relatives bury their dead in funerals that in the past have turned into new protests. Ammar Qurabi, head of Syriaâ€™s National Organization for Human Rights, said another 20 people were missing.
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