Regime looks increasingly embattled as security forces open fire on crowds of hundreds of thousands.
Khalid Ali reports
"The Syrian regime was looking increasingly isolated yesterday as hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets in some of the largest rallies of the uprising, despite an unprecedented attempt by President Bashar al-Assad to reach out to his political opponents.
Marchers massed in city squares up and down the country, facing the bullets of Mr Assad's security forces, with at least nine people reported killed. A video posted on YouTube showed residents from a town in north-west Syria – a region which has been subject to a relentless army operation using tanks, troops and helicopter gunships – chanting "Bashar is a vampire" and holding anti-government placards.
Another film from Hama, north of Damascus, posted online by activists purports to show the city centre packed with tens of thousands of anti-government demonstrators. An enormous flag is stretched out above the heads of protesters gathered in al-Assi Square, while crowds of cheering, banner-waving demonstrators are hemmed-in for as far as the eye can see [See Video posted just below]....
Other activists told the Reuters news agency that injured civilians were being taken to hospitals on the outskirts of Homs to avoid the troops stationed at emergency wards in the city centre....."