Syrian human rights campaigners say security forces have committed what could be called ‘a crime against humanity’ after witnesses said mourners at a funeral for pro-democracy demonstrators were fired upon.
The witnesses reported that thousands of people in Deraa were chanting freedom slogans near the city’s old Omari mosque.
An amateur video appeared to corroborate the witnesses’ claims that dozens of anti-government protesters were killed or wounded.
The state television version said armed groups had killed 19 police officers in Deraa and wounded 75 more. The interior ministry said it would not tolerate law-breaking.
Dozens have already died in a popular wave of protest across the country against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.
Syria’s National Organisation for Human Rights said three more died in Homs, the scene of bloody clashes on Friday.
The EU’s foreign policy supremo Catherine Ashton condemned the violence and urged Syria to implement “meaningful policitial reforms”.