Witness: 13 protesters killed in Syria

A witness says 13 protesters have been killed in southern Syria during an anti-government demonstration.

Security forces fired tear gas and live ammunition Friday as thousands of protesters gathered in Daraa, which has become the epicenter of the country’s protest movement.

The witness said he counted at least 13 corpses at the city’s hospital.

Like most activists and witnesses who spoke to The Associated Press, he requested anonymity for fear of reprisals.

Protest organizers have called on Syrians to take to the streets every Friday for the past three weeks, demanding reform in one of the most authoritarian nations in the Middle East. The protests have rattled the regime of President Bashar Assad, whose family has ruled Syria for nearly 40 years.AP