Syria civilian death toll at least 4,000: UN rights chief

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The number of people killed in Syria following a crackdown on protesters since March has reached at least 4,000, the UN rights chief said on Thursday.

"We are placing the figure at 4,000. But the information coming to us is that it's much more," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay during a conference in Geneva.

Pillay will address a special session of the Human Rights Council on Friday called to discuss the findings of an independent panel on the human rights situation in Syria.

The Indepedent Commission of Inquiry said on Monday Syrian forces had committed crimes against humanity, including the murder and torture of children, following orders from the highest levels of Bashar al-Assad's regime.

The panel gathered evidence from 233 witnesses and victims on the brutal repression of anti-regime protesters but was not given permission to enter the country.

A previous toll issued by the UN earlier this month put the number of estimated deaths at 3,500.

© 2011 AFP

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