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Rights Activists: Syrian Forces Kill 18 Anti-Government Protesters

Rights activists say Syrian security forces killed at least 18 demonstrators Friday, most of them in the flashpoint city of Homs where the death of Libya's Moammar Gadhafi has galvanized anti-government protesters.

Syria's opposition movement, boosted by the killing Thursday of Libya's ousted dictator, launched new protests across the country against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government. Along with Homs, deaths were also reported in the central city of Hama.

Earlier this week, Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) officially recognized Syria's opposition National Council as the country's legitimate representative. Syrian activists express hope that they too will see a transition of rule in Syria.

The United Nations says more than 3,000 people have been killed in Syria since the government began cracking down on dissent earlier this year.

However, Syrian authorities have blamed much of the country's deadly violence on gunmen and "terrorist" groups.

On Wednesday, Assad received a huge show of support as tens of thousands of loyalists rallied in the northern city of Aleppo.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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