Toll from Syria rebel attack on Daraa rally up to 37 – NGO
BEIRUT, Lebanon – The death toll from an attack by Syrian rebels on a campaign rally for President Bashar al-Assad's re-election bid has risen to 37, a monitor said Saturday, May 24.
"The death toll from the Daraa attack has risen to 37," said Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
"Among them were 19 civilians, including four children, 12 members of the popular defense committees (pro-regime militia) and six soldiers," Abdel Rahman told Agence France-Presse.
Rebel mortar hit a tent where Assad supporters had gathered in the southern city late Thursday, May 22. (READ: 21 killed as Syria rebels shell Assad poll rally)
The attack also wounded dozens, said the Observatory, which had initially reported a death toll of 21.
Assad faces two little known challengers in next month's vote and is widely expected to clinch a third seven-year term despite the civil war, which has killed more than 160,000 people.
State news agency SANA accused "armed terrorist groups" of the attack against "civilian citizens gathering in a patriotic tent in Daraa city."
The election will only be held in regime-controlled areas, and has been dismissed by the opposition and its Western backers as a "farce." – Rappler.com