Syria funeral hit with teargas, protesters wounded: Report

Syrian security forces fired tear gas on thousands of people who took part in the funeral of two persons killed in the southern city of Daraa.

Last Updated: Mar 20, 2011, 00:40 AM IST

Damascus: Syrian security forces fired
tear gas on Saturday on mourners burying two men who were killed in
an earlier protest in the southern city of Daraa, wounding
several, rights activists said.

The latest violence came as a Facebook page, one of
the motors behind an unprecedented string of protests in
Syria, called for a Saturday rally in the city of Homs, north
of Damascus.
The fresh call for protests in the Middle Eastern
country infamous for its tight grip on security came one day
after rights groups reported that security forces killed at
least three people and wounded hundreds in a rally in the
southern city of Daraa.

Yesterday`s incident came as residents of Daraa, a
traditional city home to large, tribal families, attended the
funerals of two of the victims.

"Thousands of people at the funerals of Akram
al-Jawabra and Hussam Abdelwali Ayash were surrounded by large
numbers of security men who fired tear gas at the mourners to
disperse them," the activist said, quoting witnesses.

He said several people inhaled tear gas or were
injured when they began to push their way through the crowd,
which had been chanting "God, Syria, freedom," in panic.

Another activist said Daraa was in a state of extreme
agitation.

"Dozens of people were arrested today and a protester
who was wounded on Friday, Adnan Akrad, died," he said.

"More than 10,000 attended the funerals but the bodies
were buried without prayers being recited in the mosque."

After the burial the crowd headed for the centre of
Daraa, to be met by tear gas," the activist added.
Impromptu protests have erupted in Damascus and other
cities for four days, with Facebook group The Syrian
Revolution 2011 -- which also carries an Arabic version of its
title translating as "The Syrian Revolt against (President)
Bashar al-Assad" -- emerging as a major mobilising force
behind the unprecedented events in Syria.

The group, which has called several days of protest
with different degrees of success, on Saturday disclosed the
location of the demonstration in advance, a bold gesture in

Syria, which remains under a 1963 emergency law that bans
protests.

Demonstrations in Syria on Friday marking a "Day of
Dignity" were also reported in the coastal town of Banias and
in Homs.

In Damascus, AFP reporters saw plain-clothes police
dragging away at least two activists Friday who had apparently
began to chant "freedom" after prayer at the main mosque.

PTI