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Seven reported killed in Syria as Turkey's Gul urges reform

Reuters/Mehmet Emin Caliskan

Syrian security forces killed at least seven people during Friday protests, according to rights groups. Turkish President Abdullah Gul urged President Bashar al-Assad’s regime to institute reforms before it is too late.

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"I would not want you to look back some day and regret that you acted too little and too late," the Anatolia news agency quoted Gul as saying in a letter. “To be a leader who promotes change will put you in a historic position rather than being swept away by the winds of change."

Turkey, which has enjoyed good relations with the Assad regime in the past, has criticised the repression of recent protests and opened its border to people fleeing the turmoil.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu held talks with Assad for more than six hours on Tuesday, reportedly urging him to change track.

Thousands demonstrated after prayers on Friday but were met with bullets fire by security forces, rights groups report.

The UK-based Syrian Human Rights Observatory reported:

  • Damascus – a man killed at dawn in the suburb of Saqba, two in Harasta and Douma on the outskirts, five wounded;
  • Kahn Sheikhun – a woman shot dead;
  • Hama – one civilian killed, three wounded;
  • Homs – one man killed;
  • Deir Ezzor – one man killed.

Two security agents were shot dead by armed agents in Douma, according to state television.

Friday’s protests were in response to a call by Facebook group The Syrian Revolution 2011, for mass "no-kneeling" demonstrations after weekly prayers.

"We only kneel before God," the group said.

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