A leading international rights group called on Syria on Tuesday to dissolve the country's security court, describing it as "one of Syria's main pillars of repression."
The New York-based Human Rights Watch also urged Washington and Europe to condition further ties with Damascus on the dissolution of the State Security Court, and on improving the country's human rights record.
The call comes as Syria is improving relations with some Western countries.
The European Union's foreign policy chief was expected in Damascus on Tuesday and Syria's ambassador to Washington was to meet with State Department officials later this week - the first such meeting in months.
The Syrian court was established under a 1963 emergency laws and thousands of people, including activists, intellectuals and members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood opposition group have been tried and sentenced by the tribunal in the last 16 years. Its verdicts cannot be appealed.