DAMASCUS (AFP) - At least eight people were reported killed by security forces during anti-regime protests across Syria on Friday, as Russia joined growing world pressure on President Bashar al-Assad to implement reforms but ruled out UN sanctions. "We have three people killed in the southern town of Dael, three others in the Damascus suburb of Qatana, one in the suburb of Zabadani and another in Jableh, located near the coastal city of Latakia," said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The killings took place as pro-democracy protesters again took to the streets in several cities and towns across the country after Muslim Friday prayers in defiance of a brutal government crackdown. Protesters in the central city of Homs could be heard chanting "God is greatest", "Down with the regime" and "Get out, get out," in reference to Assad. The death toll by early evening was far lower than last Friday when at least 44 people were killed by security forces during similar protests. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, meanwhile, joined a chorus of international calls for Assad to push forward with reforms but stressed that he was not in favour of sanctions against the authoritarian regime. "We are not supporters of sanctions," Medvedev told reporters after the close of the Group of Eight summit in France. "Sanctions are by far not the best method." But he added: "President Assad should switch from words to actions and conduct real democratic reforms." French President Nicolas Sarkozy took a much firmer stand at the summit, endorsing a call by his US counterpart Barack Obama for Assad to lead a transition or "get out." "We've done everything to bring Syria into the international community. Everything. We talked (to the Syrians), tried to help them, to understand them," said Sarkozy. "Unfortunately, I'm sorry to say that Syria's leaders are moving quickly in reverse. Under these conditions, France withdraws its trust and denounces what must be denounced," he said. Sarkozy's comments were the first time that France has spoken so explicitly about Assad leaving power. Until now France has simply called for an end to the repression in Syria and for reforms to be implemented.