Thursday, February 29, 2024

Syrian forces target funeral, assassinate activist

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Beirut: Syrian security forces trying to suppress the resilient anti-government uprising killed five people on Sunday, including one person who was attending a funeral procession for a teenager shot dead in protests a day earlier, activists said.

Another of the dead was an activist for the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights who was assassinated while in hiding in a besieged eastern city, the group said.

The uprising against President Bashar Assad’s regime began in mid-March amid the wave of anti-government protests in the Arab world that have toppled autocrats in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Assad retaliated with a military crackdown that, according to the U.N., has killed more than 3,000 people.

The funeral targeted on Saturday was for 14-year-old Ibrahim al-Shayban, one of 11 people shot dead by Syrian troops on Friday. Troops in armored vehicles opened fire on several neighborhoods in Homs on Sunday, killing three people, said Syrian-based activist Mustafa Osso and the Local Coordination Committees.

The city has been the scene of intense anti-regime protests since shortly after the uprising began seven months ago.

The activist killed on Saturday, Ziad Tawfiq al-Obeidi, was targeted in the eastern city of Deir el-Zour. He worked for the Observatory but had been in hiding since Syrian troops stormed the city two months ago.

The group did not provide details on how he was killed. On Saturday, Assad set up a 29-member committee to draft a new constitution, part of reforms the president promised in a failed attempt to sap the uprising of its energy.

The committee will have four months to produce a new charter, the state-run news agency reported. Assad’s opponents, however, say they won’t accept anything short of his departure. (AP)

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