With Funerals Set to Begin, Death Toll in Syrian Protests Rises

BEIRUT, Lebanon — The death toll from the bloodiest day in the five-week-old Syrian uprising rose to at least 86 people, according to human rights activists and witnesses, as thousands of mourners on Saturday prepared to bury their dead in towns and cities across the country. On Saturday, phones seemed to have been cut in at least 10 cities and towns across the country.


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“People are in a state of panic,” said Abu Ahmad al-Dimashki, an activist in Homs. “Today is going to be a big day, and we don’t know what the reaction of the security forces will be, but almost all of us expect another brutal crackdown, which will complicate things.”

Mr. Dimashki said Homs, Syria’s third largest city, remained completely shut for the sixth day. Last Tuesday, security forces and police officers in plain clothes attacked protesters trying to stage an Egypt-style sit-in in a city square.


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