Syrian Troops Fire on Protesters in Damascus

Posted February 18th, 2012 at 7:20 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Activists say Syrian security forces have opened fire on protesters taking part in a funeral procession in the capital, Damascus.

Witnesses says the shooting broke out Saturday at the funeral of three people killed by security forces during a protest in the area a day earlier.

Witnesses and activists say thousands of people participated in Saturday's procession in the Mezze neighborhood. Some injuries were reported, but an exact toll is not known.

Earlier Saturday in Damascus, China's Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun called on all sides in Syria to end the violence and allow elections to proceed peacefully.

Zhai – who spoke following a meeting with President Bashar al-Assad – said China calls on the government, the opposition and those with arms for an immediate stop to the violence.

He says Beijing is hopeful that the upcoming referendum on a new constitution, as well as parliamentary elections, will take place calmly.

China and Russia have both refused to condemn Syria over its crackdown on dissent, which has killed more than 6,000 people since last March.

The U.N. General Assembly on Thursday passed a resolution, approved by 137 of the assembly's 193 member states, calling on Mr. Assad's autocratic government to “immediately put an end to attacks against civilians.”

On Friday, Syrian activists said Syrian troops shelled four neighborhoods in the central city of Homs. The city has spearheaded the 11-month uprising against President Assad. Activists also say demonstrations in defiance of Mr. Assad's government have sprung up in several cities throughout the country, including the capital, Damascus.