Syrian funeral bombing 'kills 12'


Twelve people were killed and dozens wounded when a car bomb exploded today at a funeral in Damascus, state television reported.

Witnesses said the bomb exploded at the entrance to a Druze cemetery in the Jaramana district of southeast Damascus, hitting the funeral procession of two men killed in bombings a day earlier.

An activist group said the attack targeted supporters of President Bashar al-Assad.

One witness said as many as 150 people had been wounded. Another said she saw charred bodies including those of children. Syrian television said 48 people had been wounded in the "terrorist car bombing".

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based opposition body which monitors the violence in Syria, said the two men being buried today were supporters of Dr Assad, who is fighting to crush a 17-month-old uprising against his rule.

Elsewhere, the UN refugee agency said today the pace of Syrian refugees reaching Za'atri camp in northern Jordan has doubled, with 10,200 arriving in the past week, heralding what could be a bigger mass movement.

"We do believe this could be the start of a major, a much larger influx into Jordan," Melissa Fleming, chief spokeswoman of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told a news briefing in Geneva.

There are now nearly 70,000 Syrian refugees registered in Jordan, although thousands more have not signed up for assistance, according to the UNHCR.

"The refugees say that many thousands more are waiting to cross and violence around Deraa, which is not far across the border, is the reason," Ms Fleming said.

Syrian refugees arriving in Jordan "reported being bombed as they were trying to cross. They also reported that there was shelling, mortars and other weapon-fire, pointing to a very treacherous journey to get out," she said.

There has also been a sharp rise in the exodus from Syria to Turkey, where up to 5,000 people have been arriving every day over the past two weeks, she said.

More than 3,000 Syrians had crossed over in the past 24 hours alone, she added.

Overall, 214,120 Syrians have been registered in four neighbouring countries (Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey), exceeding the UNHCR'S forecast of 185,000 for this year.

Turkey will open four new camps to accommodate refugees fleeing Syria by next week, bringing its total capacity to 120,000 people, and is making plans for a continued influx, its disaster management agency said today.

"By next week camps with additional capacity of 40,000 will be opened. So we will have capacity to accommodate 120,000 people and are making plans for higher numbers," said Mustafa Aydogdu, spokesman for the Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate