16 Dec 2011

More fighting reported in Syria

1:41 pm on 16 December 2011

More fighting has been reported between army deserters and the government forces in southern Syria.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in London says the deserters killed at least 27 soldiers in the province of Daraa at dawn on Thursday.

There is no word on casualty figures among the opposition forces, nor has the report been independently verified.

The UN believes more than 5000 people have died in seven months of unrest.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch in the United States has accused Syrian military commanders and officials of ordering soldiers to shoot to kill in order to stop anti-government protests.

The group names 74 government officials and military officers as being directly involved in crimes against humanity.

The BBC reports the findings are based on testimony from more than 60 army defectors.