Home > Al-Assad, Arab world, Ba'ath Party, Bashar al-Assad, Damascus, middle east news, Syria, Syrian human rights, بشار الأسد, سورية > Thousands bury slain mourners in Syria, witness says (CNN)

Thousands bury slain mourners in Syria, witness says (CNN)

By the CNN Wire Staff
May 22, 2011 — Updated 1811 GMT (0211 HKT)

 — About 7,000 Syrians turned out to bury four people killed Sunday in the city of Homs and were not disrupted by security forces, a witness said, in a stark change from events a day earlier.

The four people were killed Saturday when security forces greeted anguished mourners with brute force, an activist said.

The latest round of violence in the Syrian anti-government protests began Friday, when at least 44 people died in Homs and other cities, according to the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria. Syrian security personnel fired at demonstrators, the group said.

On Saturday, violence erupted as tens of thousands of people marched in a funeral procession and went to a graveyard to bury some of Friday’s victims, an activist said.

“We were chanting and praying for the martyrs and they just sprayed us with their bullets,” the activist said of Saturday’s violence. “I saw seven to eight people on the ground bleeding and moaning. I ran as fast as I could as bullets flew past us towards the fields and hid among the olive trees until another mourner saw me and helped me walk to the main road,” the activist said.

On Sunday, the funeral procession for four people ended peacefully, with no reports of injuries despite heavy security presence around the city and at the funeral march, the witness said.

“We were all expecting violence when we left our homes today, but even the plain-clothes security forces hidden in the crowd did not bother us,” the witness said. “We do not know why this is, but we were all happy to arrive home safely.”

Overnight, however, in two suburbs of Homs, security forces raided dozens of homes and arrested a great number of people, the witness said. Gunfire was heard intermittently throughout the night as security forces went door to door.

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