Syrian crackdown death toll tops 3,500: UN rights

AFP , Tuesday 8 Nov 2011

UN human rights body condemn the Syrian government brutal crackdown against peaceful protesters, calling on the Assad regime to stop its violence immediately

protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad after Friday prayers in the ancient city of Palmyra (Reuters)

More than 3,500 people have been killed in the Syrian regime's brutal crackdown on dissent, the UN human rights office said Tuesday, deploring the slaughter that went on despite a peace plan.

"The brutal crackdown on the dissent in Syria has so far claimed the lives of more than 3,500 Syrians," said Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

"More than 60 people are reported to have been killed by military and security forces since Syria signed the peace plan sponsored by the league of Arab states, including at least 19 on Eid al-Adha on Sunday," she added.

President Bashar al-Assad's government signed on to the Arab League peace plan on November 2.

The Arab roadmap calls for an end to violence, the release of those detained, the withdrawal of the army from urban areas and free movement for observers and the media, as well as talks between the regime and opposition.

As a first step, Syria on Saturday said it had released more than 550 people who were arrested during anti-regime protests, to mark the Eid al-Adha Muslim feast.

However, Shamdasani noted that despite the release, "thousands continue to remain in detention and dozens continue to be arbitrarily arrested every day."

"Syrian troops continue to use tanks and heavy weaponry to attack residential areas in the city of Homs," she said, referring to the flashpoint central city where protests against Assad's rule were held in most districts despite a weeks-long military crackdown.

"This has been extraordinarily disappointing," said the spokeswoman.

"There was a peace plan by the league of Arab states that the Syrian government had engaged to, but since the peace plan was signed, there have been further killings, further sieges of towns and really shocking reports coming out from the ground," she noted.

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