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Report: Civilian Deaths In Syria Protests Rise To 500

Syrian pro-reform protesters in the town of Douma
A Syrian human rights group says security forces have killed at least 500 civilians in their crackdown on a protest movement that has rocked the country in recent weeks.

Human rights organization Sawasiah also said thousands of Syrians have been arrested and scores have gone missing after demonstrations against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad began almost six weeks ago.

In a statement released today, the group said it has the names of "at least 500 confirmed killed" and called on the international community to "take action to stop the bloodbath."

The statement said the use of tanks and artillery against protesters in the southern flashpoint city of Daraa amount to "a crime against humanity."

Sawasiah was founded by jailed Syrian human rights lawyer Mohannad al-Hassani.

On Wednesday, the UN Security Council failed to agree on a statement condemning Syria's violent crackdown against anti-government protesters.

The Western-led effort collapsed due to resistance from Council members Russia and China among others.

compiled from agency reports