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Seven killed in Syria funeral shooting

Washington summons envoy after reports that embassy staff filmed protests in US against crackdown

Gulf News

Dubai: Seven people were killed and several wounded in a shooting in Al Dmair town near Damascus during a funeral Saturday, Al Arabiya television said, citing unidentified witnesses.

The deaths came a day after at least 15 people were killed and more than 200 arrested during Friday protests in Hama which drew more than 500,000 Syrians, reports said.

Human Rights Watch denounced yesterday a "deliberate policy" to disperse protesters with deadly force.

The deaths also came as Damascus accused the US envoy of inciting violence in Hama, a charge roundly denied by Washington which accused the Syrian embassy of spying on demonstrators in the United States.

Washington summoned the Syrian ambassador for talks after reports that embassy staff had filmed US protests against the crackdown in Syria, the State Department said on Friday.


Emad Mustafa was called in to meet with top State Department officials "to express a number of our concerns with the reported actions of certain Syrian embassy staff in the United States.

"We received reports that Syrian mission personnel under ambassador Mustafa's authority have been conducting video and photographic surveillance of people participating in peaceful demonstrations in the United States."

New York-based Human Rights Watch issued a damning criticism of Syrian security forces for firing on unarmed civilians and for beating detainees, based on the testimony by alleged defectors.