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Syria says its borders are open

  |   April 25, 2011 at 10:34 AM
DAMASCUS, Syria, April 25 (UPI) -- All border crossing points into Syria from neighboring countries are open and operating normally, a Syrian official said Monday.

The official Syrian Arab News Agency denied reports Monday that the border with Jordan was closed as part of a security crackdown in the southern city of Daraa.

"Director General of Syrian Customs Mustafa al-Bikaii affirmed on Monday that border crossing points between Syria and neighboring countries are open, including Jordan," the SANA report read. "In a statement to SANA, al-Bikaii said that movement on crossing points is normal and regular, both for travelers and shipping."

Protests erupted in Daraa in March. Security forces have clashed with anti-government groups in recent weeks, leaving more than 100 people dead across the country. Several were reported missing last week after the government lifted a state of emergency in place since 1963.

Human Rights Watch urged the United Nations to investigate the deaths and called on the United States and Europe to impose sanctions on officials responsible for shooting and detaining hundreds of protesters.

"Faced with the Syrian authorities' 'shoot to kill' strategy, the international community needs to impose sanctions on those ordering the shooting of protesters," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, in a statement.

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