Syria

US, UN, France condemn Syria killings

Reuters/Amateur Video via Reuters TV
2 min

US President Barack Obama joined France and the UN in condemning the deaths of more than 80 people during "Good Friday" protests in Syria. President Bashar al-Assad’s security forces used live ammunition and tear gas to disperse Friday's demonstrations, witnesses and activists told news agencies with some putting the death toll at over 100. 

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The official news agency, Sana, said 10 people died in clashes between protesters and passers-by, claiming that security forces used only tear gas and water cannon.

But a group called the Committee of Martyrs of 15 March Revolution issued a list of 82 names of people killed and said the toll could reach 100. Al Jazeera television put the body count at at least 103.

US President Barack Obama dubbed the violence "outrageous" and accused Assad's regime of seeking Iran's aid in the crackdown.

"Instead of listening to their own people, President Assad is blaming outsiders while seeking Iranian assistance in repressing Syria’s citizens through the same brutal tactics that have been used by his Iranian allies," he said.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon said Assad's government must "respect international human rights, including the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly" and called for an independent probe into the killings.

France urged Damascus to engage in a "political dialogue without delay", while European Parliament chief Jerzy Buzek called for the release of all prisoners of conscience and British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the killing of demonstrators is "unacceptable”.

Most of the dead were in the southern town of Ezreh, in the Daraa governorate which has been the centre of recent protests, according to Amnesty International.

More than 20 people were killed in and around Damascus, including in the northern suburb of Douma, and at least 18 were killed in the central city of Homs, the London-based rights group said.

Two boys aged seven and 10 were among those killed in Ezreh, Amnesty said.

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