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Widespread violence reported across Syria

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Widespread violence reported across Syria

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There are grim reports of widespread violence in Syria. From the capital Damascus to Amuda in the north east, thousands of people appear to have taken to the streets to demand an end to the authoritarian rule of President Bashar al-Assad.

Friday is the Muslim holy day, and weekly prayers have proved a launch platform for protests across the Arab world.

Activists claim five people were killed in clashes in Homs – but, as usual, this is impossible to verify. It is claimed at least 16 are dead.

Syria’s state news agency in turn says a police officer was killed in the town and several others injured during clashes with armed gangs.

Meanwhile, over the border in Lebanon, at least two people are said to have been killed in a gun battle between rival sectarian communities in the northern city of Tripoli.

Its an unwelcome development. The fervent hope is in Lebanon that the unrest in Syria will not spill over the border.

The army moved in quickly – there are often clashes in the neighbourhood. But this time it follows heightened ethnic tension.

The Sunni muslim residents of the neighbourhood clashed with others who are Alawite – the sect to which Syrian President Bashar al-Assad belongs.