Activists claim that up to 30 people have been killed in Syria where thousands have taken to the streets for another day of anti-government rallies, dubbed a "day of defiance".
Human rights group Insan said that at least 16 people had been killed in the central city of Homs, six in Hama and two in Jableh. It said the total death toll was 26 but didn't specify where the other two deaths occurred.
A human rights activist told the Associated Press news agency that 30 people had died, while Syrian state television said an army officer and four police were killed in Homs by a "criminal gang".
Security forces killed four protesters in the city of Deir al-Zor, a local tribal leader told Reuters.
Al Jazeera could not independently verify the reports because of restrictions on reporting in the country.
Activist Najati Tayara said security forces opened fire to disperse protests that broke out after noon prayers in Homs.