UN body alarmed by reports suggesting Syria 'executions'

AFP, Friday 2 Mar 2012

The UN rights body says their had been unconfirmed information concerning the execution 17 in the city of Homs as regime forces overran the Baba Amr neighbourhood, advocating the regime to respect international law

Members of the Free Syrian Army check ammunition in al-Bayada district in Homs, February 29, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)

The UN rights body appealed to Syria on Friday to respect international law after receiving unconfirmed reports of 17 "grisly" executions as forces overran Baba Amr in the city of Homs.

"We are alarmed at reports starting to come out of the Babr Amr district of Homs after it was taken over by Syrian forces yesterday," said Rupert Colville, spokesman for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Colville said the OHCHR had been been given information "suggesting a particularly grisly set of summary executions" had taken place on Thursday as regime forces overran the Baba Amr neighbourhood.

He said he could not confirm the 17 killings however.

"We would like to remind the authorities of their responsibilities under international law," said Colville. "It is essential there are no unlawful reprisals, no summary executions, no torture, no arbitrary detentions.

"Enough crimes have already been committed in Syria over the past year."

The opposition Syrian National Council has warned of "barbaric" reprisals against Babr Amr residents after rebels pulled out on the second day of an all-out ground assault by the Syrian military.

The storming of the rebel bastion began early Wednesday, following 27 straight days of shelling.

The UN estimates that more than 7,500 people have been killed in the almost year-long uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

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