Syrian security forces opened fire on mourners near a mosque in Deraa after a mass funeral for pro-democracy protesters, two witnesses said on Saturday.
Security forces used live ammunition and tear gas to disperse thousands of people who were chanting freedom slogans after assembling near the old Omari mosque in the old quarter of the city, the witnesses said. A Syrian rights group said at least 37 people had been killed in protests across the country on Friday.
“Syrian security committed (in Deraa) what could be called a crime against humanity,” the National Organisation for Human Rights said in a statement. “It fired indiscriminately on protesters and killed and wounded tens of them.”
State TV said armed groups had killed 19 policemen and wounded 75 in the city. The Interior Ministry warned it would not tolerate breaches of the law and would deal with “armed groups”, state news agency Sana said.
A witness in Deraa said he had seen at least four youths wounded by snipers being taken by protesters to a nearby clinic. In the wee hours of Saturday, security forces used live ammunition to disperse hundreds of people in Latakia, causing scores of injuries and possible deaths, residents said.
One witness said he had seen water trucks washing blood off the streets near Takhasussieh School in the Sleibeh district.
Foreign Minister Walid Al Moualem said that “subversive elements opened fire on the police and the protesters to drag the country into violence and cause chaos”. Agencies