News / Middle East

    UN Says Syria Crackdown Death Toll Tops 3,500

    Demonstrators protesting against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad march through the streets on the first day of the Muslim festival of Eid-al-Adha in Alsnmin near Daraa, November 6, 2011.
    Demonstrators protesting against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad march through the streets on the first day of the Muslim festival of Eid-al-Adha in Alsnmin near Daraa, November 6, 2011.

    The U.N. human rights office says at least 3,500 people have been killed in the Syrian government's eight-month crackdown on dissent, while activists say deadly assaults continued in the central city of Homs.

    Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights said the total includes 19 people killed Sunday during the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha.

    Activists said government security forces killed two people Tuesday in the Baba Amr district of Homs, Syria's third largest city that is at the center an uprising against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.

    Peace deal

    Nearly a week of deadly assaults has killed more than 110 people, despite a deal struck with the Arab League to halt the violence.

    Youssef Ahmed, Syrian ambassador to the Arab League said Monday his country has taken significant steps toward fulfilling the deal, such as releasing 500 prisoners as part of a conditional amnesty.

    U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Friday she would not advise anyone to turn themselves in to Syrian authorities.

    Syria's state-run SANA news agency says Foreign Minister Walid Moallem has sent a letter to diplomats saying Syria is surprised by the remarks, and sees them as encouragement of armed groups committing criminal acts against the Syrian people.

    Assad's government blames much of the unrest on "terrorists" whom it says have killed hundreds of security personnel.

    US concerns

    Nuland said Monday U.S. concerns about Syria remain unchanged, and that the government is trying to deflect attention from the "brutality and violence" it is carrying out against its own people.

    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said during a speech Monday about developments in the Middle East that leaders who respond with violence to calls for change should know "their days are numbered."

    The Arab League has scheduled an emergency meeting in Cairo this coming Saturday to discuss "Syria's failure to implement" the agreement to halt violence against protesters.

    Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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