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Syrian Forces Kill Five Civilians In Clampdown

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad

Syrian security forces shot dead five civilians during funerals which turned into protests against President Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Other people were killed during raids on homes in protest areas, the rights group said.

Two protesters were killed in Kiswa, 15 kilometers south of Damascus, during funerals of several demonstrators who had been killed on June 24.

Three civilians were killed during house-to-house searches in the Barzeh district of Damascus and in the town of Quseir, west of Homs city, close to the Lebanon border, the rights group added.

"These regions have been seeing growing protests and the regime is using force to prevent them from spreading," Rami Abdel Rahman, rights group, told Reuters.

Witnesses said at least 200 people were arrested in raids on homes in Barzeh following the June 24 protests as part of an escalating security clampdown focused on regions close to the capital.

Tens of thousands of Syrians staged protests on June 24 that stretched across most of the country. At least 20 civilian protesters were killed by security forces using live ammunition, the Local Coordination Committees, an activist group, said.

Syria has barred most international journalists from entering the country, making it difficult to verify accounts from activists and officials.