The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 21 protesters were killed, including a 10-year-old boy.Other reports put that at 27.
The clashes indicate neither side appears able to tip the scales in the two-month uprising. Assad's forces have waged a relentless crackdown on the opposition, but protesters continue to face down security forces with marches seeking to break the Syrian leader's authoritarian rule.
Human rights groups say more than 850 people have been killed in the clashes and clampdowns.
Witnesses reported protests Friday in the central cities of Homs and Hama; outside the capital of Damascus, and the Mediterranean ports of Banias and Latakia.
Like most witnesses contacted by The Associated Press, the residents asked that their names not be used in fear of reprisals from the government.
Assad has no interest in reforms or relinquishing his hold on power. He will say and do anything to remain in power and so long as his regime has control over the military, Assad will hold on in Damascus.
Thus far, there has been no interest by the US, NATO, or anyone else to engage in the kind of military operations as carried out against Mumar Khadafi in Libya. That's perhaps because the Libyans have a clear faction that wants to oust Khadafi and there are sides to be taken to stop Khadafi's further slaughter of protesters and those who stand against Khadafi's 40 year rule. There is no such opposition around which the US or NATO can back; there aren't Syrian officials who are fleeing the country to seek sanctuary elsewhere or otherwise breaking with Assad.