Thousands Gather in Damascus for Funerals of Syria Bombing Victims

26 people were killed in Friday's suicide bombing in Damascus; Syrian opposition blames Assad regime for attack.

Thousands of Syrian mourners on Saturday attended the funerals of the 26 people who were killed in a suicide bombing the day before in the capital Damascus.

"May God protect Syria and its sovereignty," chanted the mourners, as they walked in a funeral procession in central Damascus, said witnesses.

Syria Jan. 6, 2012 (AFP photo / SANA)
AFP photo / SANA

State television showed the coffins of the victims being carried across the streets of Damascus amid tight security, and the wailing of grieving women and men echoed across Maidan district where the blast took place.

The Syrian opposition blamed President Bashar Assad's regime for the bombing. A bomber blew himself up at a traffic intersection, near an elementary school.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council on Friday expressed "grave concern" over the deteriorating situation in Syria.

According to UN estimates, more than 6,000 people have died in the clashes between advocates for reform and the Syrian government over the past ten months.