100,000 at Syria protester funerals: rights group


More than 100,000 people turned out on Saturday for the funerals of dozens of protesters killed by Syrian security forces in the city of Hama, a rights group said.

“More than 100,000 people started to take part in the funerals” of at least 53 people killed during anti-regime protests on Friday across Syria, all but five of them in Hama, said Syrian Observatory for Human Rights head Rami Abdel Rahman.

Two residents of Hama said as many as 150,000 mourners joined the funeral procession, from which security forces stayed away.

One of the residents said Internet access was cut off in Hama.

Abdel Rahman said security forces shot dead 48 people in Hama, where a crowd of more than 50,000 gathered for the city’s biggest rally since the mid-March outbreak across Syria of a revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.

In Homs, a city 40 kilometres (25 miles) south of Hama, two people were killed and another two in nearby Rastan, said Abdel Rahman, head of the London-based Observatory. One person was also killed in Idleb, northwest Syria, he said.

Abdel Rahman also reported that fresh clashes erupted in Jisrash Shughur, 30 kilometres (19 miles) southwest of Idlib, on Saturday as security forces tried to disperse a column of protesters marching through the town.

However, he did not report any immediate casualties.

Rights groups say more than 1,100 civilians have been killed and at least 10,000 arrested in the brutal crackdown since the protests began.