Syrian security forces have killed at least 17 demonstrators in the southern city of Daraa, amid fresh protests against the rule of Bashar al-Assad, hospital sources and witnesses told the Reuters news agency.
The deaths occurred after Friday prayers when security forces opened fire with rubber-coated bullets and live rounds to disperse stone-throwing protesters, a witness told Al Jazeera.
In the east, thousands of ethnic Kurds also demonstrated for reform despite the Syrian president's offer this week to ease rules which bar many Kurds from citizenship.
Separate protests erupted in the western port city of Latakia, Tartus, Baniyas, Homs - near the Lebanese border - and in Edlib, in the northwest of the country. Gunfire was also heard in Harasta, a suburb of the capital, Damascus.
Al Jazeera's Gerald Tan reports.