700 dead in Syria crackdown, jurists' group says

May 12, 2011 21:30

GENEVA - Syrian authorities have killed more than 700 people and rounded up thousands while shelling cities indiscriminately in their military crackdown on protesters, an international jurists' body said on Thursday.

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), a Geneva-based panel of senior lawyers and judges from around the world, said attacks by security forces on civilians amounted to crimes under international law.

The group said it had received accounts of the crackdown from lawyers and human rights defenders within Syria. Syria has barred foreign journalists since launching its crackdown on protests, making independent accounts hard to obtain.

"More than 700 people have reportedly been unlawfully killed and hundreds subjected to enforced disappearances since the Syrian authorities began their crackdown on 15 March in Deraa, Homs, Banias and other cities," the ICJ said in a statement.

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