Human rights campaigners say Syrian security forces killed at least seven people on Sunday during anti-government protests in the city of Homs.
One campaigner said nine had been killed.
Amateur pictures purport to show the attack, in which activists say around 20 people were injured.
Tensions have been high following the death in custody of a tribal leader on Saturday.
Syria’s independence day also saw demonstrations – and some reported deaths – in several other cities.
President al-Assad’s promise to scrap emergency laws by next week has failed to appease protesters.
Thousands turned out near Deraa for the funeral of a soldier.
The authorities claim the young conscript was accidentally electrocuted, according to relatives.
But signs of beatings were reported and they believe he was killed by the security forces.
The authorities blame a conspiracy for the protests but calls for political freedom appear to be intensifying.