BEIRUT - Government forces have used rape and other sexual violence against men, women and children during the Syrian uprising, Human Rights Watch said on Friday.

The US-based group said it had recorded 20 incidents from interviews inside and outside Syria with eight victims, including four women, and more than 25 other people with knowledge of sexual abuse - including medical workers, former detainees, army defectors, and women's rights activists.

"Sexual violence in detention is one of many horrific weapons in the Syrian government's torture arsenal and Syrian security forces regularly use it to humiliate and degrade detainees with complete impunity," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at HRW.

"The assaults are not limited to detention facilities - government forces and pro-government shabiha militia members have also sexually assaulted women and girls during home raids and residential sweeps."

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