- Obama condemns violence against protesters in Syria
- Syrian opposition calls for further reform
- Syria lifts state of emergency
- Syrian security forces open fire on demonstrators, dozens killed, wounded - TV
The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who is currently paying a visit to Moscow, condemned Syrian government for killing of demonstrators and urged for a "transparent" independent investigation.
Western media has circulated reports claiming that at least 88 people were killed on Friday across the country as security forces opened fire and used teargas against demonstrators who demanded political freedoms and an end to corruption.
Ban said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government must "respect international human rights, including the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, as well as the freedom of the press" and demanded an "independent, transparent and effective investigation into the killings."
"Only an inclusive dialogue and the effective implementation of reforms can address the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people and ensure social peace and order," the UN Secretary General said.
U.S. President Barack Obama has also condemned the Syrian authorities for the use of force to quell nationwide protests against Bashar Assad's regime.
Syrian mass protests started in Daraa on the border with Jordan on March 18. They were prompted by the arrest of a group of school students who wrote anti-government mottos on walls. The unrest later spread to other Syrian regions.
At least 300 people have been killed in protests and clashes that have raged in the country since mid-March, according to Syrian opposition.
In response to the protests, Assad formed a new government, promised a score of political and economic reforms, and even lifted on Tuesday the almost five-decade long state of emergency in the country.
However, these measures failed to pacify the opposition prompting the government to resort to violence in dealing with the protesters.
MOSCOW, April 23 (RIA Novosti)
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