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SYRIA: Activists raise death toll to 76 in three days of violence [Video]

May 22, 2011 | 10:56 am

Politically charged funeral marches were held in Homs, Syria's third-largest city, as activists upped the death toll for the latest round of political unrest in the country to 76, most of them gunned down by ruler Bashar Assad's security forces. 

In Homs residents of the districts of Khaldiyah and Bayada joined together Sunday in a march to the Tal Nasser cemetary to mourn those killed in funeral marches a day earlier, according to an account by activists. 

According to activist Najati Taiara, prisoners at a jail in Homs smuggled out a distress call about the circumstances under which they were being held. Several hundreds prisoners have allegedly been stuffed into a basement storage room of about 1,000 square feet flooded with wastewater from a leaking pipe. Most of them were detained for protesting against the Assad clan's decades-long rule. 

Gunfire rattled the city all day Saturday, according to witnesses cited by activists. "Security forces not only fired directly on the mourners of yesterday's martyrs, but also they fired and targeted deliberately and flagrantly the cars that tried to transport the injured," said a statement issued by activists.

In the restive suburbs of Damascus ...

... some of the commercial districts held to a strike, activists claimed. In the city of Saqba, protests hat began Friday continued into Saturday. The city was surrounded by security forces that opened fire on protesters.

Injured people are being treated in private homes for fear of being snatched by security forces at government hospitals, activists say.

A witness spotted armored vehicles and buses ferrying troops to the western city of Zabadani, where activists suspected the regime would strike next. 

A small protest broke out in the northern city of Lattakia, with demonstrators chanting in solidarity with the people of Talkalakh, the Lebanese border city that has been under fire by Assad's security forces, who also swarmed the protesters in Lattakia.

Security forces on the outskirts of the city of Dara raided the village Ghabagheb at dawn, arresting dozens. 

Activists continue to uncover evidence of the regime's alleged atrocities in Dara. At least 28 people from a village close to the southern city have been missing since April 29, when they tried to break the seige on Dara.

The bodies of nine people arrived at Dara National Hospital, all bearing signs of torture. One of them was identified as Tamer Subhi Qadah,  27, of the village of Kahel, who died after suffering a fractured skull following his arrest on April 27.

-- Los Angeles Times

Video: Protest in Homs. Credit: YouTube