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EU Calls On Assad To 'Step Aside' Amid More Syria Deaths

A screen grab from footage uploaded to YouTube that shows a protester burning a picture of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during an anti-regime student demonstration in Damascus, reportedly on September 19.
The European Union has called President Bashar al-Assad to leave power as violence continued across Syria.

EU foreign ministers in a statement after a meeting in Luxembourg urged Assad "to step aside to allow a political transition" and reaffirmed the bloc's determination to impose fresh sanctions.

The statement also welcomed "the efforts of the political opposition to establish a united platform" and noted the creation of the Syrian National Council (SNC) "as a positive step forward."

Meanwhile, Syrian activists said more than 30 people were killed on October 9.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said seven civilians were killed in the central city of Homs, a flashpoint of protests against President Bashar al-Assad's rule. Another seven were killed in other towns when security forces fired at anti-regime protests.

The group said 17 military personnel were killed the same day in clashes with deserters who refused orders to shoot on protesters.

The UN estimates the crackdown has caused more than 2,900 deaths.

compiled from agency reports