Syrian Tanks Shell Homs Neighborhood
Syrian Tanks Shell Homs Neighborhood

A Syrian rights group says government forces have carried out more deadly attacks on opposition protest hubs around the country, killing 17 people, six of them in the capital, Damascus.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights tells VOA that five people were killed Wednesday in the Damascus suburb of Barzeh, as they attended the funeral of a protester who was killed the day before. It says another person was tortured to death in the Damascus suburb of Douma.

Elsewhere, the rights group says Syrian security forces and snipers firing indiscriminately killed six people in the central city of Homs, three in the southern region of Daraa, one in the central city of Hama and another in the northeastern town of Deir Ezzor. The causality figures could not be independently verified because Syria bars most foreign journalists from operating in the country.

U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay said Wednesday more Syrian soldiers are defecting to the opposition because they refuse to be complicit in international crimes. In remarks to the U.N. Security Council, she said there is a "serious risk" of Syria descending into the type of armed struggle that happened in Libya's popular revolt earlier this year.

Earlier this week, the U.N. human rights office said at least 3,500 people have been killed in the Syrian government's crackdown on dissent since the uprising began in March.

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

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