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MIDEAST > Syrian forces clamp down Damascus rally

DAMASCUS

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Syrian mourners carry the coffins of demonstrators who activists said were killed by regime forces during a mass funeral in Mazzeh in Damascus. AFP Photo

Syrian mourners carry the coffins of demonstrators who activists said were killed by regime forces during a mass funeral in Mazzeh in Damascus. AFP Photo

Syrian security forces yesterday flooded a tense neighborhood where a mourner was shot dead in the largest anti-regime rally seen in Damascus, activists said, blunting calls for a “day of defiance.”

Although the security deployment thwarted attempts to stage new protests in Mazzeh neighborhood, scene of a Feb. 18 funeral that turned into a huge anti-regime rally, business there ground to a halt, activists said. Mohammed Shami, a spokesman for activists in Damascus province, said most shops were shut in Mazzeh as well as in the Barzeh, Qaboon, Kfar Sousa and Jubar districts. Deeb al-Dimashqi, a member of the Syrian Revolution Council, said earlier that “huge demonstrations” were expected, but adding that security forces had imposed a tight clampdown round the city. Activists and official media reported at least six people killed yesterday. Activists reported at least 14 other people killed Feb. 18. Feb. 18’s funerals in Damascus were for four people, including two teenagers, killed Feb. 17 when security forces fired on protesters in Mazzeh.

Meanwhile, gunmen opened fire yesterday on a car carrying a senior Syrian state prosecutor and a judge in Idlib which borders Turkey, killing both of them and their driver, according to the state news agency SANA. Idlib provincial state prosecutor Nidal Ghazal and Judge Mohammed Ziadeh were killed instantly in the attack, SANA said.

Compiled from AFP and Reuters stories by the Daily News staff.

February/20/2012

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