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U.N. calls for action against Syria

Oct. 15, 2011 at 11:08 AM

DAMASCUS, Syria, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- The U.N. human rights commissioner called on the international community to take steps to prevent a civil war in Syria.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay issued a statement Friday that accused Syrian President Bashar Assad of "ruthless repression and killings," the Los Angeles Times reported.

"Since the start of the uprising in Syria, the government has consistently used excessive force to crush peaceful protests," Pillay said. "Sniping from rooftops and indiscriminate use of force against peaceful protesters -- including the use of live ammunition and the shelling of residential neighborhoods -- have become routine occurrences in Syrian cities."

The statement goes on to ask the international community to "take protective action in a collective and decisive manner, before the continued ruthless repression and killings drive the country into a full-blown civil war."

The United States and European Union have already imposed economic sanctions against Syria, while Turkey, Syria's longtime ally, has publicly criticized Assad's use of force on protesters and is planning on imposing economic sanctions.

Since anti-government protests began in March, 3,000 people, including 187 children, have died, Pillay said.

Thousands more have been "arrested, detained, forcibly disappeared and tortured," Pillay said.

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