Syrian forces open fire on mourners after mass funeral

Security forces used live ammunition and tear gas to disperse thousands of people who were chanting freedom slogans after assembling near the old Omari mosque in the old quarter of the southern city near the border with Jordan, they said.

Dozens of people have been killed in a wave of protests across Syria against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad. Accusing the government of commiting a crime against humanity, a Syrian rights group said at least 37 were killed across the country on Friday. “What is happening in Syria is a flagrant violation of (human rights),” the National Organisation for Human Rights said.

“Syrian security committed (in Deraa) what could be called a crime against humanity ... It fired indiscriminately on protesters and killed and wounded tens of them.”

After Friday’s bloodshed, Syria’s interior ministry warned it would not tolerate breaches of the law and would deal with “armed groups”, state news agency SANA said on Saturday.

Activists were concerned this could herald a harsher crackdown. In the early hours of Saturday, Syrian security forces used live ammunition to disperse a pro-democracy protest by hundreds of people in a Sunni district of Latakia, causing scores of injuries and possible deaths.

One witness said he saw water trucks hosing down blood on the streets near the Takhasussieh School in the Sleibeh district of Latakia, Syria’s main port, 330 km northwest of the capital Damascus.

“One cannot move two steps in the streets without risking arrest. It is difficult to know if there were deaths, but we heard heavy AK-47 fire,” a resident said.

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