Two Syrian MPs, top cleric quit over bloodshed

Damascus (ANTARA News/AFP) - Two Syrian MPs from the protest hub city of Daraa and its top cleric on Saturday told Al-Jazeera television they resigned in protest at the bloodshed in their country.

"I announce my resignation from parliament," Khalil al-Rifai, a deputy from the southern city said in remarks broadcast by Al-Jazeera.

The satellite channel said he became the second MP from Daraa to quit after Nasser al-Hariri, who earlier announced his resignation also on Al-Jazeera, saying he was frustrated because he could not protect his constituents.

Rifai echoed the sentiment, saying he could not "protect the people who brought me to parliament."

"I urge the president to intervene immediately," said Rifai, who became the first MP to quit since anti-regime protests in the country erupted on March 15.

Hours later, Daraa`s top cleric Mufti Rizq Abdulrahman Abazeid also joined the dissidents, announcing his resignation on Al-Jazeera.

"The authorities must respond to all the demands" of the people, he said.

At least 13 people were shot dead on Saturday in Syria, activists and witnesses said, as tens of thousands took to the streets again to bury scores of people killed in massive anti-regime protests the previous day.

Many of those killed on Friday and Saturday fell in the Daraa region. (*)