Tens of thousands of people took to the streets across Syria after Friday prayers, activists and witnesses said, protesting against President Bashar al-Assad and defying an intensified military crackdown on their uprising.

Demonstrations demanding an end to Assad’s rule broke out in the Medan district of Damascus, the besieged city of Homs, Latakia on the coast, the southern city of Deraa and the eastern province of Deir al-Zor, on the border with Iraq’s Sunni heartland, activists said.

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