Assad forces kill five mourners as Syrians bury victims of regime assaults(AlArabiya)
Syrians prepared for more angry funerals on Sunday after security forces gunned down at least five mourners during burials for anti-regime protesters killed the previous day in the country’s third largest city, Homs.
The funerals in Homs, which is turning into a focal point in the nine-week uprising against the authoritarian regime of President Bashar al-Assad, were taking place amid mounting calls by the international community for an end to the violence.
Those killed on Saturday—at least five according to activists—were marching during the funeral procession of several people who were among 50 killed during protests that swept the country on Friday and Saturday.
“Tens of thousands had accompanied the funeral procession from the city’s main mosque to Tal al-Nasr cemetery,” an activist told Agence-France Press by telephone. “The shooting began as people were coming out of the cemetery” in Homs.
He said an unknown number of people were wounded as security forces fired on protesters in Saqba, a suburb of Damascus. “The demonstrators hurled stones at the security forces … who opened fire, leaving some wounded.”
Syria barred most international media since the protests broke out two months ago, making it impossible to verify independently accounts from activists and officials.
Syrian authorities have blamed most of the violence on armed groups, backed by Islamists and outside powers, who they say have killed more than 120 soldiers and police. They have recently suggested they believe the protests have peaked.
However activists say it is clear the regime is quickly losing credibility.
“Their ferocious crackdown has failed because the wall of fear has come crumbling down despite the massive arrests and torture,” said an activist reached by telephone.
“And no one is buying their talk of national dialogue anymore because the government is not addressing the crux of the issue,” he added. “The streets are seething with anger because people don’t know where we are headed.
“And the killings are further feeding this anger and feelings of rancor.”
At least 900 people have been killed and thousands more have been arrested since the pro-democracy protests began mid-March, according to rights groups.
Many of those arrested and later released reported being tortured, activists say.
Although the capital Damascus has been largely spared from the unrest until now, a number of demonstrations were held in and around the city on Friday but were quickly dispersed by security forces.