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108 Syrians shot at close range

Published:Wednesday | May 30, 2012 | 12:00 AM

BEIRUT (AP):

The United Nation's human rights office disclosed yesterday that most of the 108 victims of a massacre in Syria last week were shot at close range, some of them women, children and entire families gunned down in their own homes.

The massacre on Friday in Houla drew new international outrage, with more than half a dozen countries, including France and Britain, expelling Syrian diplomats in protest.

"We are at a tipping point," special envoy Kofi Annan told reporters yesterday in Damascus, following a meeting with President Bashar Assad.

He called on the government and the armed opposition to stop all violence.

The UN report indicated that most of the dead were killed execution-style, with fewer than 20 people cut down by regime shelling. The UN cited survivors and witnesses blaming the house-to-house killings on pro-government thugs known as shabiha, who often operate as hired muscle for the regime.