Germany calls for stop to violence in Syria

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Germany called Thursday for violence to stop in Syria and for the government to uphold civil rights after activists said police shot dead more than 100 anti-regime supporters.

"Reports of many victims in the Syrian city of Daraa are disturbing. The violence must cease immediately," Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in a statement.

"The Syrian government must make sure that fundamental human and civil rights as well as the principles of the rule of law are upheld.

"Uprisings in the Arab world show that stability does not come from violence but from dialogue and implementing reforms."

The appeal came as some 20,000 people gathered in Daraa for the burials of victims killed on Wednesday and chanted support for a growing movement of protest against the regime, rights activists said.

Activist Ayman al-Asswad told AFP that security forces had used live rounds when they opened fire on demonstrators the city, which is 120 kilometres (75 miles) south of the capital Damascus.

The claim could not be independently confirmed, but AFP reporters witnessed sporadic shooting in Daraa on Wednesday.

Buthaina Shaaban, media advisor to President Bashar al-Assad, on Thursday put the death toll in Daraa at 10.

© 2011 AFP

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