Scores of pro-democracy protesters killed by security forces will be buried across Syria in funerals expected to attract large crowds on Saturday and fuel mounting defiance against authoritarian rule.
A group of activists coordinating the demonstrations said regular forces and gunman loyal to President Bashar al-Assad shot dead at least 88 civilians on Friday. Rights groups had earlier put the death toll at a minimum of 70.
The Local Coordination Committees activist group sent Reuters a list with names of 88 people classified by region. The group said they were killed in areas stretching from the port city of Latakia to Homs, Hama, Damascus and the southern village of Izra’a.
It was by far the bloodiest day yet in a month of demonstrations demanding political freedoms and an end to corruption in the country of 20 million people.
“The funerals will turn into vehement protests, like past funerals,” a Syrian human rights campaigner said.
When you have security services who are thugs it is difficult to think that they will not shoot at the crowds. Another cycle of funerals and demonstrations is likely to follow,” the rights campaigner said from the Syrian capital.