At least 37 killed on Friday in Syria: rights group

BEIRUT (Reuters) – A Syrian rights group accused state security forces on Saturday of committing a crime against humanity, saying they had killed at least 37 people during Friday’s demonstrations across the country.

The National Organization for Human Rights said that 30 people were killed in the southern city of Deraa, the center of protests. Three more people died in the central city of Homs and three in Harasta, a Damascus suburb, as well as one in Douma.

“What is happening in Syria is a flagrant violation of (human rights),” it said in a statement. “The Syrian security committed (in Deraa) what could be called a crime against humanity … It fired indiscriminately on protesters and killed and wounded tens of them.”

The group listed the names of the dead in Deraa.

State television said armed groups killed 19 policemen and wounded 75 in the city. The interior ministry accused “plotters pushed by known foreign sides” of firing at protesters to create a rift between people and police.

Protests have spread across Syria, challenging the 40-year rule of the Assad family and dozens of demonstrators have been killed with security forces opening fire.

Syrian security forces opened fire again on Saturday on mourners near the old Omari mosque in Deraa following a mass funeral for the dead pro-democracy protestors, two witnesses said.

(Reporting by Mariam Karouny; editing by David Stamp)

At least 37 killed on Friday in Syria: rights group