Seven people are dead after security forces in Syria opened fire on large crowds of anti-government protesters the Damascus suburb of Qaboun, activists said. They are among a total of 12 killed in the country as tens of thousands protested against the government of President Bashir al-Assad on Friday. Rallies broke out after Friday prayers in the central Syrian cities of Homs and Hama, Deir al-Zour in the northeast and in the southern town of Dara’a, which was subjected to a brutal military crackdown in April. After four months of protests across the country, the government has spoken vaguely of offering reforms. Most anti-regime activists are skeptical of the government’s intentions.