Middle East

Syria: Troops 'kill five mourners at funeral'

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Media captionDamascus resident, Abu: "They [troops] had swords and knives"

Syrian security forces have killed at least five people and wounded at least 12 when they fired live rounds into a funeral crowd in Homs, activists said.

The funeral, for protesters killed on Friday, was taking place at the city's Nasr cemetery.

Witnesses reported that the shooting began as mourners were leaving the cemetery.

Security forces shot dead at least 44 people on Friday as mass protests swept the country after prayers.

At least 850 people have been killed in weeks of demonstrations against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, human rights groups say.

Turkey call

The US President Barack Obama has called on Mr Assad to lead a transition to democracy or "get out".

On Saturday, Turkey too joined the chorus of international calls for the Syrian leader to act before it was too late.

"Time is running out," Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu warned.

"There is still a chance for a stable and peaceful transition in Syria [if] comprehensive, shock reforms [are initiated] at a pace and with a scope that will satisfy the people," he said.

The regime of Mr Assad has remained defiant, blaming the unrest on "armed terrorist gangs" backed by Islamists and foreign powers.

During the funeral in Homs - for eight people killed after protests following Friday prayers - some of the mourners chanted "overthrow the regime", according to a witness cited by Reuters news agency.

One witness said five people with gunshot wounds to their legs and arms were taken to hospital.

The Muslim day of rest has become a rallying point in the country's revolt, which began in mid-March.

Reports from Syria are hard to verify independently, as foreign journalists are not allowed into the country.

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