BEIRUT — Syrian security forces trying to suppress the anti-government uprising killed five people Saturday, including a person who was attending a funeral procession for a teenager fatally shot in protests a day earlier, activists said.
Another of the dead was Ziad Tawfiq al-Obeidi, an activist for the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, who was killed while in hiding in the besieged eastern city of Deir al-Zour, the group said. It did not provide details on how he was killed.
The Damascus funeral that was targeted Saturday was for 14-year-old Ibrahim al-Shayban, one of 11 people shot dead by Syrian troops Friday.
In the city of Homs, troops in armored vehicles fired on several neighborhoods, killing three people, said Syrian-based activist Mustafa Osso and the Local Coordination Committees. The city, about 100 miles north of Damascus, has been the scene of anti-regime protests since shortly after the uprising began seven months ago.
An amateur video posted online showed scores of mourners at the funeral chanting, “Oh Syrian, raise your hand, we don’t want Bashar!” Others carried a banner that read “We will not let you down, Ibrahim. We will keep the pledge and punish those who killed you.”
Although mass protests in Syria have shaken one of the most authoritarian regimes in the Middle East, the opposition has made no major gains in recent months. It holds no territory, and its leadership is still fragmented. But there have been increasing reports of heavy fighting between security forces and army defectors.
Also Saturday, President Bashar al-Assad set up a committee to draft a new constitution, part of changes he had promised in a failed attempt to sap the uprising of its energy. The committee will have four months to produce a new charter, the state-run news agency reported.
Assad’s opponents, however, say they will not accept anything short of his departure.
Hundreds of people in northern Iraq gathered Saturday to condemn the Syrian regime’s crackdown. About 400 members of the Syrian Kurdish community took to the streets in Sulaymaniyah to call for Assad’s ouster. Kurds are a minority in Syria and face government discrimination.