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08 December 2023

150,000 mass for funerals near Syrian capital


Funerals in Douma near the Syrian capital drew more than 150,000 people on Monday, marking the largest expression of mourning in the protest hub since an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in March, activists said.

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 Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The funerals come after Syrian army deserters at the weekend seized control of the protest hub just northeast of Damascus 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 in Douma, the Observatory had reported at the time.

There was no independent confirmation that Douma had been taken or of any fighting in the area, as foreign reporters are generally not allowed access.