Human rights activists in Syria said at least 15 people were killed Wednesday in the southern city of Daraa during clashes between anti-regime protesters and security forces. According to AFP, activists and locals claimed security forces opened fire on protesters outside the Omari mosque early Wednesday, after hundreds had gathered overnight to prevent police from storming it.
One activist said “at least nine people were killed in the attack on the mosque, including a child, a woman and two members of the security forces,” and that six more were killed in attacks on a funeral procession later in the day.
“At least thirteen were killed in the overnight attack on the mosque, and we estimate five or six were shot dead during the funeral procession,” said another activist.
Meanwhile, state television showed footage of what it said was a stockpile of weapons inside the mosque including guns, grenades and ammunition. It blamed the banned Muslim Brotherhood of being behind the riots in Daraa. “Two months ago, the General Supervisor of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, Riyad al-Shaqfa, announced the group’s return to military action in the country,” the news agency reported.
Syria has also accused foreign parties of stirring up the unrest. SANA news agency has reported “more than one million text messages had been sent to Syrians (encouraging them to) use mosques as a base to cause trouble.”
Demonstrations reported also in the nearby towns of Jassem and Nawa, where eyewitnesses said more than 2,000 protesters gathered Tuesday for a rally before being quickly dispersed by security forces.