Syrian Forces Shoot at Protesters, 8 Killed

Posted October 14th, 2011 at 12:45 pm (UTC-5)
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Syrian security forces have opened fire on protesters in several parts of the country, killing at least eight people.

Activists say the anti-government demonstrators were killed on Friday in areas that include suburbs of Damascus, the central Homs region and the southern Daraa province.

Syria's state-run media, however, disputed reports of protests in Daraa and said one person was killed and seven wounded during a quarrel between “armed gangs.”

Damascus has blamed much of the deadly violence that has erupted during protests against President Bashar al-Assad on gunmen or “terrorist” groups.

Earlier Friday, U.N. human rights officials said the death toll from seven months of anti-government protests in Syria had topped 3,000.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay warned that Syria's violent repression of dissent could drive the country into full-blown civil war.

Syria has been facing mounting international pressure to end the crackdown. On Friday, news reports quoted Arab League officials as saying the group's foreign ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Sunday to discuss the situation in Syria.

On Thursday, the European Union imposed sanctions on Syria's biggest state bank in response to the deadly unrest.