More widespread protests in Syria on Friday, including demonstrations in and around Damascus, led to the deaths of at least seven people, although the figure could be as high as 15 according to some reports.
Syrian human rights groups now put the total death toll in more than three months of unrest at over 1,300, and in response economic sanctions on Syria are being tightened by the US and Europe.
On Friday the EU extended its sanctions against the Bashar al-Assad regime, adding four more named Syrian officials to its travel blacklist and, for the first time three commanders of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, accused of helping Damascus put down the unrest. In all, some 34 individuals and entities including Assad and his top officials have now been sanctioned.
Human rights groups also said arrests have been continuing of traders and businessmen who took part in Thursday’s general strike, especially in the south of the country.