A massive funeral has taken place for the pro-Syrian government cleric murdered at a Damascus mosque on Thursday.
Sheik Mohammad Said Ramadan al-Buti and nearly 50 other people were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up.
Mourners carried Buti and his grandson’s coffin on their shoulders amid shouts of “God is great”.
The mass killing inside the Umayyad Mosque, a historic place of worship, shocked many Syrians, now long accumstomed to the daily bloodshed of a conflict that has claimed more than 70,000 lives.
The blast took place in the same Mazraa district of the capital where a car bomb killed more than 60 people last month, another sign that Syria’s civil war has penetrated the heart of Bashar al-Assad’s capital.
In response, Assad has vowed to purge the country of “extremist forces” although no group has claimed responsibility for the killings.
As Buti was a Sunni Muslim, like many Syrian rebels, there was widespread anger over his support for a president from the country’s Alawite minority. Some have blamed the attack and subsequent bombings on the authorities seeking to shift the balance of power.
Opposition leader Moaz Alkhatib, a former preacher at the Umayyad Mosque, said the killing of a Muslim scholar in a religious sanctuary was a “crime in every sense of the world.”
But he also believes there were signs Buti was questioning his support for Assad and that authorities “feared that if he took a courageous decision it could overturn the whole balance (of power).”
- 1Italian actor Bud Spencer dies at 86
- 2What will Brexit mean for EU migrants to the UK and British expats?
- 3Lionel Messi retires from international football
- 4Paris and Berlin agree on a strategy following Britain’s shock exit vote
- 5Iceland’s new President Gudni Johannesson off to France for the football
Latest world news
US college basketball loses coaching legend: Pat Summitt dies, aged 64
IKEA recalls millions of chests and dressers following link to children’s deaths
France: deadly fire engulfs chemical plant near Lyon
Dozens are killed and wounded in multiple suicide bomb attacks on Istanbul’s Ataturk airport
Thousands protest in France as Senate approves controversial labour law
Wires > News
- 01:19 CET Dutch PM Rutte wants ‘binding’ assurances over EU’s Ukraine deal
- 01:18 CET As Duterte takes over in Philippines, police killings stir fear
- 00:15 CET Italy, Netherlands propose split U.N. Security Council seat for…
- 00:12 CET Clinton leads Trump by 11 points in U.S. presidential race -…
- 00:09 CET Canada presses China over reports of Hong Kong visa clamp down
- 23:44 CET Exclusive – Trump supporters more likely to view blacks…
- 23:11 CET Women subjected to torture by Mexican police, armed forces – report
- 23:01 CET Emergency call log details horror of Orlando nightclub shooting