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Syrians stage mass anti-US rally


By BBC

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Thousands of people have held a peaceful demonstration in Damascus against an alleged US raid on a village that Syria says killed eight people.

Riot police armed with batons and shields surrounded the US embassy in Damascus, which closed due to what it said were increased security concerns.

The US state department and the White House have refused to confirm, deny or comment on the alleged attack.

The Syrian government has demanded an apology from Washington.

It also threatened to cut off co-operation on Iraqi border security if the US carried out any more raids on Syrian territory.

Unnamed US officials said the target of the attack was the leader of a network with links to al-Qaeda, smuggling foreign fighters into Iraq.

Damascus said it was doing all it could to stem any traffic of foreign fighters across the long and porous border.

Iraq said it would share the results of its own investigation into the raid near Abu Kamal, some eight kilometres (five miles) north of Iraq's border with Syria.

Victims' anger

Thousands of people took to the streets of Damascus, waving flags and carrying banners reading "No to American terrorism" and "America the sponsor of destruction and wars".

The protesters, including many civil servants and students, also waved pictures of the Syrian president, as they converged on the central Youssef al-Azmi square.

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