In the southern city of Daraa, which has been in revolt for a week, gunfire and tear gas scattered a crowd of thousands after people lit a fire under a statue of late president Hafez al-Assad. Al Jazeera aired comments by a man who said security forces had killed 20 people on Friday in the nearby town of Sanamein.
More from Al Jazeera:
However Reem Haddad from the Syrian information ministry, told Al Jazeera that security forces had been given the order not to shoot at protesters "no matter what happens". "But things took on a different hue because inside these peaceful demonstrations there was another group of people who were armed ... and were shooting at the security forces and were shooting at other citizens in Daraa. "At the end of the day this became a matter of national security."
But an eyewitness told Al Jazeera that "there were no people carrying arms among demonstrators". "What happened in the square ... was live ammunition, I was present myself and I saw the youth and other young demonstrators leading a peaceful demonstration. "They were chanting slogans calling for freedom and transparency and end of corruption."
The unrest is spreading:
Demonstrations were also reported in the capital, Damascus, where there were some arrests, and in the towns of Hama and Tall.
Enduring America has much more footage from today.