Syrian FM warns against recognizing opposition

October 9, 2011 - 5:55 AM
APTOPIX Mideast Lebanon Syria

Anti-Syrian regime protesters of Islamic group suppoters, protest after the Friday prayer to show their support to the Syrian protesters who demonstrate against the Syrian President Bashar Assad, in the northern city of Tripoli, Lebanon, on Friday Oct, 7, 2011. Syrian security forces opened fire at protesters in several parts of the country on Friday, killing at least three people and wounding scores as thousands marched in the streets calling for the downfall of President Bashar Assad's regime. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

BEIRUT (AP) — Syria's foreign minister has warned the international community not to recognize a new council formed by the opposition, saying it is "illegitimate."

Walid al-Moallem has warned that Damascus will take measures against any country that recognizes the Syrian National Council. He did not elaborate.

The creation of the broad-based council was announced last week in Turkey. It has not yet been recognized as a legal representative of the Syrian people by any country or international body.

Al-Moallem told reporters Sunday that Damascus is a proponent of national dialogue and all opposition groups "are invited to participate for the future of Syria."

He criticized European countries where Syrian missions have recently been attacked by protesters, warning that if those nations don't abide by international agreements Syria will retaliate the same way.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

BEIRUT (AP) — A Syrian rights activist says hundreds of Kurdish mourners are gathering in a northeastern city for the funeral of five people killed by security forces.

Mustafa Osso also says more than a 100 security agents in uniform have deployed in the main square of Qamishli ahead of the funeral, as unrest builds in the majority-Kurdish region.

Sunday's procession comes a day after more than 50,000 mourners marched through Qamishli to mourn prominent opposition figure Mashaal Tammo. Security forces fired into the crowds, killing five people.

Tammo was assassinated Friday.

The turnout Saturday was by far the largest in the Kurdish northeast since the start of the uprising against President Bashar Assad's autocratic regime seven months ago.