Syria’s Foreign Minister Warns Against Recognizing Opposition

Posted October 9th, 2011 at 6:40 am (UTC-5)
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Syria's foreign minister has warned the international community not to recognize a newly formed opposition council.

Walid al-Moallem said Sunday Damascus will take “tough measures” against any country that recognizes the Syrian National Council. He said the opposition group is “illegitimate.”

Dozens of Syrian opposition leaders met in Stockholm Saturday to discuss strategies to advance reforms.

Meanwhile, Syrian security forces Saturday fired into a crowd of mourners attending the funeral of a prominent Kurdish opposition leader, killing five people.

Witnesses say the deadly shootings took place in the town of Qamishli, where about 50,000 people had gathered to pay respects to Mashaal Tammo. He was a founding member of the Kurdish Future Party and member of the Syrian National Council. Unidentified gunmen killed Tammo in his home Friday.

The funeral turned into a mass rally against President Bashar al-Assad.

Witnesses say mourners called on Mr. Assad's government to step down, chanting “leave, leave.” At one point, demonstrators toppled a statue of Mr. Assad's father, the late president Hafez al-Assad.

Activists say anti-government protesters also rallied in several other towns.

The United Nations human rights office says more than 2,900 people have died in Syria's anti-government unrest, which is now in its seventh month.