- Title: TURKEY: Funeral ceremony held for rebels killed in Idlib clashes.
- Date: 4th August 2012
- Summary: VARIOUS OF COFFINS BEING TAKEN AWAY FOR BURIAL
- Embargoed: 19th August 2012 13:00
- Location: Turkey
- Country: Turkey
- Topics: Conflict
- Reuters ID: LVA3Z4C1UZ9B18YOYNQ59VA6HDQD
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Syrian refugees in Turkey hold a mass funeral for five Free Syrian Army soldiers killed in Idlib.
Five Free Syrian Army Soldiers who were killed in Idlib province in Syria were buried in Hatay, Turkey on Saturday (August 4), as hundreds of refugees and relatives gathered to pray and weep for them.
The bodies of the rebels were brought to Turkey early on Saturday morning by their relatives. The refugees and relatives attended a funeral ceremony, chanting anti-Assad slogans.
The young daughter of one of the rebels who was killed wept as she came to terms with the loss.
"My father has gone to heaven. I love my father very much. I wish I could see him now. I wish he could give me a hug and kiss me now. I could die for him. I wish I died instead of him. I wish I died instead of him," said the daughter of rebel Gazi Haci Yousef, Elisan Hajun.
Intense fighting had been taking place in Aleppo's Idlib province, where rebels and government security forces clashed as the rebels overtook a major security building in the town of Maarat al-Numan.
"Those who died were our brothers. We are happy because they went to heaven. They fought for their country. It was a brave way to die," said Selen Hamadu, one of the refugees.
More than 2,000 Syrians, including a defecting brigadier general, have fled to Turkey in the past 48 hours to escape the violence.
A Syrian activist who monitors refugee flows at the border said more than 900 people from the Syrian towns of Aleppo and Idlib had arrived since Thursday (August 2), citing Turkish border guards.
Turkish officials are concerned about a possible flood of refugees from Syria's biggest city Aleppo, as President Bashar al-Assad's forces use warplanes and artillery to pound rebel fighters there.
The 17-month uprising against Assad's rule in Syria has created a refugee crisis in Turkey and other neighbouring countries. Opposition sources say at least 18,000 people have been killed since the revolt began in March 2011.
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