DAMASCUS - Syrian security forces on Sunday flooded a tense neighbourhood where a mourner was shot dead in the largest anti-regime rally seen in Damascus, activists said, blunting calls for a "day of defiance."

With protesters more emboldened in Damascus after 11 months of revolt which has largely escaped the city, President Bashar al-Assad's regime also came under regional pressure as Egypt joined other Arab League states in recalling its ambassador.

Although the security presence thwarted attempts to stage new protests in Mazzeh district, scene of a Saturday funeral that became a huge anti-regime rally, business there ground to a halt.

Mohammed Shami, a spokesman for activists in Damascus province, said most shops were shut in Mazzeh as well as in the Barzeh, Qaboon, Kfar Sousa and Jubar districts.

Student demonstrations had been expected in Mazzeh but security forces were stationed around schools, he said.

"Security forces are heavily deployed throughout Mazzeh," Shami said.

Another activist, Abu Huzaifa from the Mazzeh Committee, said police forced the family of Samer al-Khatib, 34, who died after being shot in neck during the mass funeral on Saturday, to bury him in a small ceremony earlier than planned, in an apparent move to prevent protests.

In central Damascus shops opened as usual, witnesses said, while state television showed live interviews from Mazzeh with people who claimed life was normal there.

Deeb al-Dimashqi, a member of the Syrian Revolution Council based in the capital, told AFP earlier that "huge demonstrations" were expected, but added that security forces had imposed a tight clampdown.

In a message to Damascus residents on the "Syrian Revolution 2011" Facebook page, activists said: "The blood of the martyrs exhorts you to disobedience," after more than 6,000 deaths since anti-regime protests erupted in March, according to activist estimates.

Activists and official media reported at least 14 people killed on Sunday.

A "terrorist group" shot dead prosecutor Nidal Ghazal and judge Mohammed Ziyadeh and their driver in the northwestern province of Idlib, the official SANA news agency reported.