Syrian football riots claim 14 lives

Fourteen Kurds, including three children, have reportedly been killed in violence that broke out in northern Syria over a football match.

    Trouble erupted over a premier league football match

    "Yesterday, nine people were killed and more than 100 were wounded during a riot," before a championship football match in the northern city of Qameshli," Abdel Aziz Dawd, secretary general of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Progressive party, said.

    "Five others were shot and killed today by riot police during protests against the previous day's deaths," Dawd said on Saturday.

    Six of those killed on Friday were shot at, while three children, aged between 10 and 15, died in a stampede that broke out in the city's stadium following fighting between rival fans.

    Inquiry ordered

    Syrian state television on Saturday reported that Damascus has ordered an inquiry into what happened in Qameshli on the Turkish border, 600km northwest of the capital.

    Earlier in the morning, dozens of people sustained bullet wounds in Qameshli and two neighbouring towns as thousands of Kurds gathered to protest against the deaths in police firing.

    "In the morning, police clashed with Kurds who "threw stones at government buildings, including the customs office and the youth centre," Abdel Baki Yussef, a senior functionary of the Kurdish party Yakiti, said.

    The protests then spread to neighbouring towns and villages, where police fired at the crowd.

    Meanwhile, the trouble also spread to capital Damascus, where several demonstrators were arrested.

    In Lebanon, the Kurdish Democratic Party accused Syrian forces of "massacring the Kurdish civilian population in Qameshli, killing at least 70 people and wounding more than 400."

    "At what was supposed to be a football match…the intelligence services turned on the Kurdish crowd," it charged in a statement.

    The match at the root of trouble was being played between Qameshli and Dir al-Zur. It was abandoned after fighting between rival fans broke out.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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