Permalink Fresh violence hits Syrian town - Video

Deraa hit by shelling and heavy gunfire, as funeral processions for scores of people killed in protests get underway.

The south Syrian flashpoint town of Deraa has been hit by fresh shelling and heavy gunfire, as residents bury people killed in Friday's "day of rage" protests against the government, a witness tells Al Jazeera. The army has been firing at protesters in neighbourhoods in Deraa's old town and at least four houses in the Karak neighbourhood have been damaged by shelling, according to the witness.

"We are totally besieged. It is a tragedy. Many houses are levelled by shelling from the army. For the past six days we haven’t seen an ambulance," the witness said via telephone, while gunfire rang out in the background. "We are keeping the bodies of the dead in refrigerator trucks, but many bodies are still lying in the streets. Many of the bodies are bloated and are reeking."

A second witness confirmed that tanks as well as armoured personnel carriers had entered Deraa this morning as well as helicopters flying soldiers into the town.

"They are shooting at houses, both the tanks and the soldiers. The most intense fire is at the Omari Mosque," he said, the sound of gunfire audible over the phone line. "The bullets are flying straight over my head as we are talking: It's so close. The humanitarian situation is very bad: There's no food, no medicine, no electricity. We are collecting rain water to drink," the second witness said.

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