Syria death toll hits 5,000 as insurgency spreads

By REUTERS
December 13, 2011 17:43

 
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AMMAN - Security forces shot dead 17 people in Syria on Tuesday and rebels killed seven police in an ambush, activists said, after the UN human rights chief put the death toll from nine months of protest against President Bashar al-Assad at 5,000.

The bloodshed in the northern province of Idlib, which borders Turkey, highlighted the accelerating violence in Syria where an insurgency has begun to overshadow what started as peaceful street protests against Assad's 11-year rule.

The UN's Navi Pillay said the death toll was 1,000 higher than an estimate she released ten days earlier. It includes civilians, army defectors and those executed for refusing to shoot civilians, but not soldiers or security personnel killed by opposition forces, she said.

The Syrian government has said more than 1,100 members of the army, police and security services have been killed.

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