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Syrian torture reports are 'scary'

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Oct. 6 (UPI) -- There are "scary reports" about rampant torture of civilians, including children, at the hands of Syrian security officials, a human rights official said.

The U.N. Security Council this week was unable to agree on a resolution sanctioning Syria for its crackdown on demonstrations against President Bashar Assad. China and Russia said political dialogue was the best way to resolve the conflict, adding they didn't want another Libya on their hands.

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Paulo Pinheiro, a human rights expert working for a U.N. commission examining the Syrian conflict, was quoted by the United Nations' humanitarian news agency IRIN as saying there were rampant reports of killings and torture, including of children, coming out of Syria.

"We have received many scary reports about the situation of children during the conflict," he said.

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Syrian human rights group Insan said it had reports of detainees left naked and doused with freezing water before they were beaten by their captors.

Syrian officials, meanwhile, shrugged off allegations made by Amnesty International that its citizens living abroad were being threatened by regime officials for voicing support for the opposition.

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"These preposterous allegations claim that the embassy is involved in targeting or intimidating Syrian expatriates in the U.S., which is absolutely untrue," the Syrian mission to the United States told Bloomberg News in an e-mailed statement.

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