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Reports: Syrian Security Forces Kill 34 Civilians

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay

A rights group says Syrian security forces have killed 34 civilians, including 10 children, in clashes across the country.

London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the deaths were reported "in several regions of Syria" on January 26, mostly in the flashpoint city of Homs.

The casualties could not be independently verified because of government restrictions imposed on journalists covering the unrest in Syria, which first has broke out last March.

UN human rights chief Navi Pillay said on January 25 that the United Nations could not keep track anymore of the death toll in Syria's crackdown on dissent that has reportedly already cost more than 5,400 lives.

Meanwhile, in Moscow, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov reiterated on January 25 that Moscow will not support Western-backed sanctions against Syria, which he called an "unjustified infringement on its sovereignty."

Ban Ki-moon Condemns Killing Of Red Crescent Leader

In related news, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the killing of the secretary-general of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.

Abd-al-Razzaq Jbeiro was shot dead on January 25 on the highway to Idlib from Damascus after attending meetings at the charity's headquarters.

Martin Nesirky, Ban's spokesperson, said the attack targeted a vehicle clearly marked with the Red Crescent emblem.

He said Ban has urged the Syrian government to investigate the attack and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Nesirky intimated that Ban had also reminded them of their obligation to respect and protect humanitarian workers.

Syria's official SANA news agency said Jbeiro was killed by "an armed terrorist group."

According to to UN figures, forces from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime have killed more than 5,000 pro-democracy supporters since a popular uprising began last March.

Based on RFE/RL and agency reporting

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