At least 13 dead, human rights activists say, as security forces open fire on protesters in southern town of Daraa.
"Human rights activists say at least 13 people have been killed in the Syrian town of Daraa, the focal point of a week of anti-government protests.
Activists and residents said security forces opened fire on protesters outside the Omari mosque early Wednesday, after hundreds of people had gathered overnight to prevent police from storming it, and that shooting had continued sporadically over the course of the day.
A rights activist also told AFP news agency that security forces had opened fire on mourners attending the funeral of those killed in Daraa.
Al Jazeera's Rula Amin, reporting from Damascus, said that fighting broke out when residents from other towns clashed with security forces as they tried to enter Daraa to help residents there.
A youth activist in the Syrian capital, who remains anonymous, told Al Jazeera that his contacts in Daraa said that "dozens of people" had died in clashes.
"Many there want to take down the government, and want more freedoms." he said.
Our correspondent said there was a heavy security presence in Daraa, with the army, anti-terror police and riot police all deployed in the city. Journalists are not being allowed to visit the city, and several of those who attempted to do so last night had their equipment confiscated by authorities.
Checkpoints have been set up by security forces at all entries to the city......"