Friday, December 16, 2011

Syria 'authorised forces to shoot to kill' in crackdown

Syrian soldiers said their commanders told them to stop anti-government protests "by all means necessary", Human Rights Watch has said.

The group spoke to dozens of defectors who said they had understood this as authorisation to use lethal force.

Anti-government protests have continued despite President Bashar al-Assad's attempts to stifle them.

The UN believes more than 5,000 people have died in seven months of unrest, which Syria blames on armed gangs.

In the latest violence, activists say 27 members of the security forces have been killed by army deserters in the southern province of Deraa.

The London based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the deaths occurred during dawn clashes on Thursday.

Twenty-five people were said by activist groups to have been killed on Wednesday during fighting near the city of Hama.

International journalists face severe restrictions on their movements in Syria, and it is hard to verify reports. Read More