Hundreds of Thousands Rally in Syria, 4 Reported Dead
12/17/11voa
AP Photo-

Activists say Syrian security forces killed four people on Friday as more than 200,000 protesters rallied against President Bashar al-Assad's government.

Activists say Syrian security forces killed four people on Friday as more than 200,000 protesters rallied against President Bashar al-Assad's government.

At least one death reportedly took place in the flashpoint Homs region, where a huge crowd gathered to voice opposition to the Arab League's decision to postpone an emergency meeting on Syria that was set for Saturday.

News organizations say the league postponed the foreign ministers' meeting to give Damascus more time to avoid sanctions by agreeing to a plan that could end the unrest.

Activists also say anti-government protesters took to the streets in several other cities, including Hama. The Syrian government says its supporters also rallied in a western region.

Russia's Interfax news agency said Friday that a Syrian official has been invited to Moscow for talks with Kremlin officials. On Thursday, Russia proposed a draft U.N. Security Council resolution that would condemn both the Syrian government and the opposition for violence linked to anti-government protests.

Meanwhile, the Reuters news agency quoted Turkish officials as saying Syria could loose more than $100 million in annual transportation revenues if Turkey proceeds with a plan to bypass the turbulent country and establish alternate Middle East trade routes.

The U.N. estimates that some 5,000 people have been killed since the uprising began in February. Syria's U.N. ambassador has rejected that figure as "incredible."

Syria has been facing increased international pressure to end its crackdown on dissent.

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