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More Killed In Latest Syrian Violence; Clinton Warns Assad


Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
Activists say Syrian security forces today killed at least 15 people in a central town as a crackdown on antigovernment protests continues.

The Local Coordination Committees -- a network of activists who help organize and document the country's protests -- said today's deaths occurred in the town of Rastan.

The latest deaths bring to nearly 60 the number of people reportedly killed in the town in the past three days.

Human rights groups say more than 1,000 people were killed -- at least 25 of them children -- since the demonstrations began in mid-March.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, said today that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's legitimacy is all but gone.

"If [President Assad] cannot end the violence against his own people and take meaningful steps to start a process of reform, then he needs to get out of the way," she said. "And every day that he stays in office and the violence continues, he's basically making that choice by default."

Clinton, in a message apparently directed at Russia, China, and Arab countries, also said the world must show more unity in condemning the Syrian repression.

Earlier today, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking in Moscow, warned Syria's opposition against destabilizing the country and told the West not to provoke the situation for the sake of "regime change."

compiled from agency reports