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HRW Says 'Crimes Against Humanity' Committed In Syria

HRW says at least 587 civilians were killed in protests in the city of Homs from mid-April to the end of August this year
An international human rights group has accused Syrian government forces of "crimes against humanity" committed against civilians in the rebellious province of Homs.

In a 63-page report released on November 11, the New York-based Human Rights Watch said security forces killed at least 587 civilians in Homs from mid-April to the end of August -- the highest number for any single province.

Homs, Syria's third-largest city, has emerged as one of the main strongholds of the eight-month antiregime protest.

Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said "Homs is a microcosm of the Syrian government's brutality."

The report, published ahead of an extraordinary meeting of the Arab League on the Syrian crisis on November 12, urged the pan-Arab group to suspend Syria's membership.

HRW also called on the 22-member League to ask the United Nations Security Council to impose an arms embargo and sanctions against members of President Bashar al-Assad's regime, and to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court.

Meanwhile, activists said Syrian security forces killed 12 people on November 11, 10 of them in Homs.

Banners at a protest in Homs on November 11 also called on the Arab League to suspend Syria.

The UN estimates more than 3,500 people have been killed nationwide since the beginning of the revolt in mid-March.

compiled from agency reports