Conflict & Justice

25 killed from fresh clashes in Syria, activist group say


Syrian pro-regime supporters take part in a rally in Damascus on December 2, 2011. Europe and the United States tightened economic sanctions on Syria, ramping up international pressure as the UN said more than 4,000 people had died in a crackdown on dissidents.



Activists said fresh clashes in Syria killed 25 people on Saturday, mostly between President Bashir al-Assad’s soldiers and army defectors, the Associated Press reported

The deadliest violence broke out in the northwestern city of Idlib, killing seven of Assad’s men, five defectors and three civilians British-based activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. 10 additional civilians were reported dead throughout the country.

The information could not be independently confirmed since foreign journalists are barred from entering Syria.

November marks the deadliest month in Syria’s 8-month-old revolt against Assad, with more than 950 reported deaths. The regime’s violent crackdown against government protesters has killed more than 4,000 people since the uprising began, according to the UN.

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The unrelenting bloodshed and recent coordinated efforts between the Syrian National Council and the Free Syrian Army rebels have led to the UN human rights chief saying on Thursday Syria is in now a state of civil war.

"I have said that as soon as there were more and more defectors threatening to take up arms, I said this in August before the Security Council, there was going to be a civil war. At the moment that's how I am characterizing this,” said Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

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Pillay held an emergency meeting Friday with the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to call on the international community to protect civilian's in Syria to prevent more bloodshed.

"In light of the manifest failure of the Syrian authorities to protect their citizens, the international community needs to take urgent and effective measures to protect the Syrian people,” she said.

Assad’s failure to stop the violent crackdowns have angered members of the international community, leading to rounds of economic sanctions from the Arab League, EU and Turkey.