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Syria funeral protester 'shot dead'

Syrian security forces have fired live rounds and tear gas at thousands of people marching in a Damascus funeral procession that turned into a protest, killing at least one person, activists said.

It was one of the largest demonstrations in the capital since the 11-month uprising against President Bashar Assad began.

The fresh violence erupted during a visit by an envoy from China, which with Russia recently supported Syria by vetoing a UN Security Council resolution that would have condemned Assad's regime.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun urged dialogue and called on all parties to stop violence that has killed more than 5,400 people since March of last year, according to the UN After a meeting with Assad, Zhai said Beijing favours a solution to Syria's violence within the framework of the Arab League and based on proposals the group already put forward.

The statement did not say whether China supported the Arab League call for Assad to transfer powers to his deputy, a plan it opposed and vetoed at the Security Council, and this week at the General Assembly.

Syria was also getting support from Iran, its closest ally in the Middle East.

Iranian state-run Press TV said two Iranian navy ships have docked in the Syrian port of Tartus to provide maritime training to Syria's naval forces under an agreement signed between the two countries a year ago.

In Damascus, several people were wounded when security forces opened fire on mourners at the funeral procession in the Mazzeh district.

Activists including the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said one person was killed. It added security forces dispersed the protesters and conducted a campaign of raids and arrests following the protest.

The funeral was held for three people killed by security forces on Friday following protests in the area.


From Belfast Telegraph