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Security in Syria opens fire during funeral

By the CNN Wire Staff
October 17, 2011 -- Updated 1821 GMT (0221 HKT)
  • NEW: Protesters block streets to avoid a confrontation, an activist group says
  • Al-Assad forms a committee to draft a new constitution
  • More than 3,000 people have died across the country
  • The U.N. wants 'immediate measures" to protect citizens

(CNN) -- Security forces in Syria's capital opened fire on mourners at a funeral for a 9-year-old boy on Saturday, killing one person and wounding five others, an activist group said.

Around 15,000 people were at the funeral for Ibrahim Al-Sheban, shot dead Friday by security forces, the Local Coordination Committees of Syria said.

Thousands of protesters blocked streets at the funeral to avoid a confrontation with security forces, the group said. The measure allowed mourners enough time to carry the body of the child to the graveyard and begin the burial process before authorities broke through the protesters' line of defense, according to the LCC.

At least 12 people were reported slain in nationwide protests Friday.

More than 3,000 people have been killed in seven months of unrest across Syria, where soldiers and police have staged a relentless crackdown on anti-government protesters.

The clampdown has been denounced across the world. The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay urged the international community "to take immediate measures" to protect citizens.

In the southern city of Daraa, thousands participated in funerals for people slain in protests amid a heavy security presence, the LCC said.

Armored vehicles rolled into a neighborhood in the western city of Homs. Random shooting was heard and a child was wounded, the group said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, another activist group, said security forces carried out raids in the Idlib province town of Kfrenbl in search of an intelligence services defector. At least 31 people have been arrested.

The Syrian Arab News Agency, a state-run outlet, on Saturday reported several violent incidents on Friday.

It said an "armed terrorist group" attacked a bus headed from Damascus to Aleppo and injured three people, including the driver and a policeman.

In Daraa province, a soldier was killed by an "armed group" in Inkhel and one person was killed in a "mass quarrel" in Dael, SANA said. The Syrian Observatory reported deaths in both of those towns during Friday's protests.

Activists have said Syrian security has been responsible for the violence across the country. The government has consistently blamed casualties on what they describe as armed groups.

CNN cannot independently confirm events in Syria, which restricts international journalists from accessing many parts of the country.

Pillay said the Bashar al-Assad regime has "manifestly failed to protect its population."

"The onus is on all members of the international community to take protective action in a collective and decisive manner, before the continual ruthless repression and killings drive the country into a full-blown civil war," she said.

The government says it has been making efforts to respond to citizens' grievances about the country's political system. Al-Assad on Saturday announced the formation of a committee to draft a new constitution within four months, the Syrian Arab News Agency reported.

CNN's Hamdi Alkhshali contributed to this report.

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