Second day of anti-regime rallies in Damascus
The Chinese envoy to Syria on Saturday called on the regime, opposition and rebels to "immediately stop the violence" in the wake of unprecedented demonstrations in Damascus. In the capital Mazze district, thousands of people attended Saturday's funeral of the victims of yesterday. They came under "heavy fire" by the security forces, reported the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights and activists.
Encouraged by this mobilization in Damascus, which is more accustomed to massive demonstrations in support of the regime, opposition activists on Saturday called on the inhabitants of the capital to hold a day of "disobedience" Sunday.
The main rallies on Friday and Saturday's funeral, held in Mazze, a strategic area west of the city, home to many embassies, government buildings, security services and some dailies. On Friday, security forces tried to disperse the demonstration in Mazze and killed four people, including two teenagers. At least 60 people were killed Friday across the country.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Zhai Jun called on all parties to restore calm after a meeting with President Assad. He expressed his hope that that the calm would return "as soon as possible".
Before his visit, the envoy stressed that his country would not approve "any military intervention in Syria, nor the so-called regime change by force".
On his part, Assad said on Saturday he "appreciates the position of China" and reiterated that the events in Syria were aimed in his view "to divide this country, to deal a blow to its geopolitical position and its historical role in the region."