Syrians protest for killed children amid tight security
Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in the coastal cities of Lattakia and Banias on Friday, as thousands prepare to march in memory of children killed during weeks of anti-government demonstrations, DPA reported.
People were chanting "God is Great" in both cities, activists said.
Tight security was imposed in Lattakia, with additional security barriers set up and extra troops deployed.
Thousands vowed to demonstrate in the "Friday of the Children of Freedom" to commemorate children killed since protests demanding political freedoms, reforms and the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad began in March.
The UN children's agency UNICEF says at least 30 children have been shot dead in the violent crackdown on anti-government rallies.
Rights groups estimate that over 1,100 people have died since the unrest began.
Anger over the arrest, abuse, and killing of children during the unrest has spiked in recent days, after activists leaked video footage of a mutilated body of a 13-year-old boy they claim was tortured to death by security forces.
Syrian authorities said on Wednesday that a full investigation would be launched into the death of the boy, identified as Hamza al-Khatib.
They say he died of bullet wounds sustained during a protest in the southern city of Daraa.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she hoped the death would persuade Syria to begin a transition to real democracy and "end the brutality against its people."