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Eight Reported Killed In Syria Protests


An image grab taken from a video posted on YouTube on May 20 showing Syrian soldiers chasing protesters in Hama, north of Damascus.

An image grab taken from a video posted on YouTube on May 20 showing Syrian soldiers chasing protesters in Hama, north of Damascus.

Rights activists and witnesses say Syrian security forces opened fire on antigovernment protesters on May 27, killing at least eight people.

Reports say at least three people were shot dead as live fire was used to disperse hundreds of protesters in the Qatana suburb east of the capital, Damascus.

Four people were reported killed in the southern village of Dael, and one was said to have died in the town of Zabadani, near the Lebanese border.

There were reports of protests in other cities and towns across Syria.

At a news conference at the end of a Group of Eight (G8) summit in Deauville, France, French President Nicolas Sarkozy joined his U.S. counterpart's call for Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad to lead the transition to democracy or step down.

"The situation [in Syria] is absolutely unacceptable and the government's attitude is shocking," Sarkozy said. "The G8 declaration condemns unambiguously the actions of the Syrian government against peaceful demonstrators. This text was reaffirmed during [the G8] talks and our Russian friends have accepted and validated this text."

In a statement, the G-8 said it was "appalled" at the bloodshed and urged an end to the use of force.

After Friday prayers on May 20, more than 40 people reportedly died amid demonstrations calling for Assad to step down. Rights groups say at least 1,000 people have been killed and 10,000 others detained since the revolt began in March.

compiled from agency reports
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