'Syria death toll hits 120 over 2 days' | world | Hindustan Times
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'Syria death toll hits 120 over 2 days'

The death toll from two days of violence in Syria reached 120 today as security forces fired on tens of thousands of mourners who shouted for the regime's downfall during funeral processions, a human rights group said.

world Updated: Apr 23, 2011 22:16 IST

The death toll from two days of violence in Syria reached 120 on Saturday as security forces fired on tens of thousands of mourners who shouted for the regime's downfall during funeral processions, a human rights group said.

The mounting death toll prompted two Syrian lawmakers to resign in disgust over the killings. More than 300 people have been killed since the uprising against autocratic President Bashar Assad began more than five weeks ago.

The lawmakers, Nasser Hariri and Khalil Rifai, are from the southern region of Daraa that unleashed the protest movement in mid-March after teenagers were arrested there for scrawling anti-regime graffiti on a wall.

"If I cannot protect the chests of my people from these treacherous strikes, then there is no meaning for me to stay in the People's Assembly. I declare my resignation," Hariri told Al-Jazeera in an interview.

The resignations were exceedingly rare in Syria, where nearly all opposition figures are either jailed or exiled.

Ammar Qurabi, the head of Syria's National Organisation for Human Rights, said 112 people were killed on Friday and at least eight on Saturday.

Friday was by far the deadliest day of the uprising.

But the bloodshed so far has only served to invigorate protesters whose demands have snowballed from modest reforms to the downfall of Assad.

Each Friday, growing numbers of people in multiple cities have taken to the streets despite the near certainty that they would come under swift attack from security forces and shadowy pro-government gunmen known as "shabiha."

The heavy security crackdown on Friday and Saturday came after Assad warned a week ago that any further unrest would be considered "sabotage" after he made the gesture of lifting long-hated emergency laws, a step he ratified on Thursday.

It was a clear sign that regime was prepared to escalate an already bloody response, with nearly 300 already dead in more than five weeks.

The increasing bloodshed has drawn international condemnation.