This appears to be a preemptive strike by Assad's forces to keep people from congregating in large numbers - something they do every Friday after mosque prayers.
Syrian soldiers opened fire on protesters in at least one flashpoint city and deployed across the country Friday as President Bashar Assad's embattled regime tries to crush a 5-month-old uprising despite broad international condemnation.
Activists said military raids earlier in the day killed two people.
Friday has become the main day for demonstrations in Syria, despite the near-certainty of a government crackdown with bullets and tear gas.
Syrian troops opened fire on thousands of protesters in the eastern city of Deir el-Zour after Friday prayers in two mosques, according to two main activist groups.
There was no immediate word on casualties in Deir el-Zour. But activists said Syrian troops killed two people during raids in the northern Idlib province and the suburbs of the capital, Damascus.
The blood is even beginning to be too much for Arabs to stomach. Assad's fellow authoritarians are calling on him to halt the violence and start a dialogue with protestors.
But it is gone far beyond that. The protestors want Assad out but as long as he has guns and people willing to pull the trigger, he stays.