DAMASCUS — Syrian security forces on Saturday fired tear gas at mourners burying two protesters killed in the southern city of Daraa, wounding several people, an activist said, as a rights group reported dozens of arrests.
“Thousands of people at the funerals of Akram al-Jawabra and Hussam Abdelwali Ayash were surrounded by large numbers of security men who fired tear gas at the mourners to disperse them,” the activist said, quoting witnesses.
He said several people had inhaled tear gas or were injured when panicked mourners began to push their way through the crowd, which had been chanting “God, Syria, freedom.”
State-run news agency SANA, which on Friday reported “acts of violence and sabotage” in Daraa, on Saturday announced the country had formed a committee to investigate the “regrettable” events.
“A Syrian official said the committee would take the necessary measures to hold accountable anyone found responsible for these events during the investigation,” SANA reported.
Since Tuesday, Syria — which is still under a 1963 emergency law which bans demonstrations — has witnessed a string of small impromptu rallies
Rights groups and activists have accused security forces of killing at least four protesters at a rally on Friday in Daraa, a city which is home to large, tribal families.
Another activist who had been at the funeral reported “extreme agitation” in Daraa and more arrests, a charge echoed by a London-based rights group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
“Dozens of people were arrested today and a protester who was wounded on Friday, Adnan Akrad, died,” he said. “More than 10,000 attended the funerals but the bodies were buried without prayers being recited in the mosque.
“After the burial the crowd headed for the centre of Daraa, to be met by tear gas,” the activist added.