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At Least Nine Dead As Thousands Protest In Syria

Thousands of antiregime demonstrators have been protesting in Syria despite the threat of violence from security forces.
Activists and witnesses say thousands have demonstrated in cities across Syria calling for the downfall of President Bashar al-Assad's regime, despite a military crackdown on the three-month-old protests.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and other rights activists said at least nine people were killed when security forces opened fire to disperse demonstrations in Damascus, in Kiswah, south of the capital, and the central city of Homs on June 24.

The protests come as Syrians in the north of the country continue to cross into neighboring Turkey to escape the military crackdown.

Turkish authorities say there are now close to 12,000 refugees in Turkey, with more than 1,500 crossing over on Thursday alone.

Activists say more than 1,400 people have been killed since protests against Assad's rule began in mid-March.

The European Union has warned President Bashar al-Assad's regime that its legitimacy has been undermined by the brutal crackdown.

compiled from agency reports