Syria video shows 'shoot to kill' policy: Amnesty
Video footage shows Syrian security forces are shooting to kill in a bid to snuff out a pro-reform opposition movement, Amnesty International said on Thursday.
"Amnesty International has obtained video footage that points to a 'shoot to kill' policy being used by the Syrian security forces to quell reform protests," said the London-based human rights watchdog.
It said the footage was shot in late March and April in and around the southern city of Daraa, which has been at the heart of more than two months of anti-regime protests and borne the brunt of a fierce government crackdown.
The footage showed protesters shot and beaten by security forces, a mass funeral in the town of Izraa, near Daraa, and soldiers conducting a night raid on Daraa's Omari mosque, Amnesty said.
These video clips "highlight the wanton cruelty of the regime's security apparatus" and show "the tactics used by the authorities in the ongoing crackdown against protests," it said.
"Images of unarmed civilians shot in the head help explain why there have been so many fatalities," said Philip Luther, Amnesty's deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa.
Amnesty said it has the names of more then 720 people believed to have been killed by Syrian security forces during the past two months of unprecedented protests threatening the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
Syrian activists have put the death toll at more than 1,000.
Luther urged Assad to "stop Syrian security forces shooting unarmed protesters" in the face of "this and other compelling evidence of rampant abuses" by his security forces.
He also called on the international community to take action in light of the "extraordinary images" captured by Syrians who "risked their lives" to document the "callous attempts of the authorities to terrorise" demonstrators.
"These videos add to the damning collection of reasons why the UN Security Council must take decisive action and refer Syria to the International Criminal Court over its brutal crackdown against pro-reform protesters," Luther said.
© 2011 AFP