Syrian security forces open fire, 27 killed

test sharma | Updated: April 22, 2011, 9:34 PM IST

Beirut: Witnesses and human rights groups say the death toll has risen to 27 as Syrian security forces fire live bullets and tear gas on protesters.

Protesters flooded into the streets after Muslim prayers in at least five major areas across the country.

It's a sign that President Bashar Assad's attempts to quell the monthlong protests with a deadly crackdown and promises of reform have all but failed.

Witnesses say an 11-year-old boy was among the dead. They spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

The protest movement has been the gravest challenge against the autocratic regime led by Assad, who inherited power from his father 11 years ago in one of the most rigidly controlled countries in the Middle East.

First Published: April 22, 2011, 9:34 PM IST

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