Syrian troops fire on protesters; at least 3 dead (Washington Post)

BEIRUTSyrian troops opened fire on protesters demonstrating after prayers on Friday, as President Bashar al-Assad’s regime shrugged off mounting U.S. pressure to ease its military crackdown and implement reforms.

At least three people were reported killed in the central city of Homs, activists said, but as the protests continue, the toll could rise. Gunfire was also reported at protests in the northern town of Baniyas and in a neighborhood of Damascus.

The shootings came a day after President Obama delivered his first warning to Assad that he should begin putting reforms in place or “get out of the way.”

The comment, made during a major address on Middle East policy, was the sharpest American rebuke yet to the Assad regime, which has used tanks, live ammunition and mass detentions in an effort to crush the Syrian uprising.

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