22 Civilians, 5 Troops Dead in Syria as 150,000 Mass for Funerals in Doumaإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
At least 22 civilians, five regime troops and an army deserter were killed in fresh violence across Syria on Monday, activists and a rights group said, also reporting a string of clashes between deserters and the army.
The Local Coordination Committees, the main activist group spurring protests on the ground, said security forces killed 23 people -- "including two children, a rebel soldier and two who died under torture."
Five people were killed in the southern province of Daraa, the cradle of the uprising, six in the central opposition bastion Homs, two in the restive countryside around Damascus, eight in the flashpoint northwestern province of Idlib, one in the northwestern province of al-Hasakeh and another in the eastern protest hub of Deir al-Zour, the LCC said.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said security forces opened fire with machineguns, killing three civilians in al-Sahen village in Idlib.
Three others were gunned down in the flashpoint central town of Homs, said the Britain-based watchdog in statements received by Agence France Presse, adding that two civilians were killed in Hama, also central Syria, and Aleppo in the north.
The Observatory said two people died in crossfire between security agents and deserters in Daraa.
In Homs province, "five soldiers of Syria's regular army were killed and 13 others wounded in fighting with a group of deserters at a checkpoint in the village of al-Ziraa," it said.
The group said the two sides also clashed in Idlib on the Damascus-Aleppo highway, near Maaret al-Numan, where eight soldiers were reported killed or injured, and three armored cars destroyed.
Also on Monday, the Observatory said funerals in Douma near the Syrian capital drew more than 150,000 people, marking the largest expression of mourning in the protest hub since a pro-democracy uprising began in March.
The processions accompanied the bodies of 12 people killed in the past three days, including three who died in detention, and gathered the "largest number of mourners in Douma since the start of the uprising," the human rights group said.
Mourners chanted slogans in support of the Free Syrian Army, a group of defectors whose leadership is based in Turkey, according to a video posted on YouTube, one of the main channel's used by local activists to report on events.
Activists say that forces loyal to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad are only deployed at the entrances of this rebellious town, located just 20 kilometers from the capital.
The funerals come after Syrian army deserters at the weekend seized control of Douma after fierce fighting, before withdrawing again to their bases, according to the same source.
The clashes erupted on Saturday night after security forces killed four civilians when they fired on mourners at a funeral, the Observatory reported at the time.
Damascus on Monday rejected an Arab League plan for President Bashar al-Assad to transfer power to his deputy, following 10 months of anti-regime protests that have cost thousands of lives in a crackdown by security forces.