Deaths in Syria amid US outrage over envoy attack

DAMASCUS, Sept 30, 2011 (AFP) - Rights groups reported more deaths in Syria on Friday as the United States demanded that Damascus "take every possible step" to protect its diplomats after regime supporters tried to attack the US ambassador.

Security forces killed a civilian in the flashpoint central city of Homs, adding to six killed in the province on Thursday, two of them children, activists said.

The civilian was killed in the city's Al-Khalidiya neighbourhood, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Security forces had also opened fire during search operations in Homs late on Thursday, killing four people, one of them a young girl, the watchdog said.

Two more civilians, one a child, were killed in Rastan, a town north of Homs which has been the scene of a massive operation by troops backed by armour for several days.

"People seriously wounded in Rastan were unable to receive medical care because of the continuing military operations," the Observatory said.

Activists say the clashes in Rastan are between the army and deserters.

Pro-democracy activists have called for demonstrations on Friday, traditionally a day for protests after the main weekly prayers, under the banner "Victory for our Syria and our Yemen. The people are stronger than any despot."

Overnight, a large explosion was heard in the Ghuta district of Homs, and the Observatory said security forces fired indiscriminately on houses in the city "until dawn."

The Local Coordination Committees (LCC) group said there was shooting in the Damascus suburb of Qabun.

The LCC, which has activists on the ground across Syria, is an active member of the Syrian National Council -- one of several opposition coalitions that has emerged since March to rally against the regime.

The official SANA news agency said 10 security personnel had been killed "by armed terrorist groups" in the Homs area, and also said a child had been killed in Idlib province in the northwest.

It said seven soldiers, including two officers, were killed in Rastan and another three members of the security forces in Tal Kalakh.

Other news