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Syrian TV: 39 killed in campaign tent shelling

In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, backers of Syrian President Bashar Assad hold his portraits and wave Syrian flags during a demonstration in support of his candidacy for presidential elections in Damascus, Syria, Friday, May 23, 2014. A mortar shell struck a large tent where supporters of Assad had gathered for election campaigning in southern Syria, tens of people were killed and wounded, opposition activists said Friday. (AP Photo/SANA) -
In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, backers of Syrian President Bashar Assad hold his portraits and wave Syrian flags during a demonstration in support of his candidacy for presidential elections in Damascus, Syria, Friday, May 23, 2014. A mortar shell struck a large tent where supporters of Assad had gathered for election campaigning in southern Syria, tens of people were killed and wounded, opposition activists said Friday. (AP Photo/SANA)
— image credit:

By Zeina Karam, The Associated Press

BEIRUT - Syrian state TV says the toll from a mortar attack on an election campaign tent packed with supporters of President Bashar Assad is 39 people killed and 305 wounded.

The TV showed pictures of Assad supporters in a tent in the southern city of Daraa dancing. It then showed people lying dead and wounded on the ground, including children. It was the first death toll provided by the government for the attack, which opposition activists earlier said killed 21.

The attack was the first to target a campaign event, heightening fears in government strongholds that rebels will escalate attacks in an attempt to disrupt the balloting scheduled to take place on June 3.

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