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Reports: Syrian Forces Kill 8 Mourners Attending Funerals

Source: VOA

Witnesses say Syrian security forces and snipers have opened fire on mourners attending mass funerals on Saturday, killing at least eight people.


Rights groups and witnesses say Saturday's shootings took place in the Damascus suburb of Douma and southern town of Izraa. Thousands of people had gathered at the locations to pay their last respects to some of the 75 people reported killed on Friday after witnesses said security forces fired shots and tear gas at anti-government demonstrators.

Some mourners chanted anti-government slogans and renewed their calls for President Bashar al-Assad's immediate resignation.


Meanwhile, two Syrian parliament members have announced they are resigning in protest against the killings of civilians.

World powers have criticized the Syrian government's crackdown on opposition activists on Friday which was the deadliest day since anti-government unrest erupted in March.

On Saturday, the Syrian government responded to criticism made Friday byU.S. President Barack Obama. Obama condemned what he called an "outrageous use of violence" and accused Assad of seeking Iranian assistance in the brutal crackdown.


Syria's state-run SANA news quotes an official as saying Obama's statement is not based on an "objective" view of what's happening in the country. The official also said U.S. claims of Iranian assistance in Syria show a "lack of responsibility" that could put Syrian citizens at risk.

Also on Saturday, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying Moscow still considered Syria a "friend," but was "firmly convinced" that only constructive dialogue and accelerated reforms would bring stability to the country.

Also, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for an immediate stop to the crackdown in Syria.

Friday's deadly crackdown came one day after President Assad had signed a decree ending almost 50 years of emergency rule. The decree was part of his effort to end anti-government unrest by meeting some of the demands of protesters.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

... Payvand News - 04/23/11 ... --

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