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      Syria: At Least 17 Shot Dead in Hama

      At least 17 were shot dead by security forces in the Syrian protests city of Hama; UN names 'rights panel' for Syria.
      By Gabe Kahn.
      First Publish: 9/13/2011, 8:26 PM

      Hama Protest
      Hama Protest
      Screen Capturet

      At least 17 people in and around the central city of Hama were shot dead by security forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad on Monday, the Syrian Observatory for Human rights said.

      "The toll of victims from the operation mounted by security forces and the army in the Hama area has risen to 17 dead," the Britain-based group told AFP in Cyprus. More than 60 people were arrested, the Observatory said.

      The Observatory also reported a 12-year-old boy killed in Douma, near Damascus, by gunfire from security forces who fired on a funeral, and a man and his son killed in the central province of Homs in the town of Al Rastan.

      The United Nations Monday named a three-member panel of international experts to investigate human rights violations in Syria since the anti-government protests began in March.

      Sergio Pinheiro of Brazil will lead the commission of inquiry, which the UN Human Rights Council agreed to set up last month to probe arbitrary executions, excessive use of force and killings and report back by the end of November.

      Laura Dupuy Lasserre, Uruguay's ambassador who currently serves as president of the 47-member Geneva forum, "underlined the importance for the Syrian authorities to fully cooperate with the Commission", a statement said.

      Meanwhile Syrian dissidents said they will present on Thursday the list of members of a "National Council" to coordinate their struggle against the regime of President Bashar Al Assad, their spokeswoman Basma Qadmani said Monday.

      Syrian opponents declared the establishment of a "National Council" in Istanbul on August 23 after four days of discussions.

      The board "represents all major forces (of Syrian dissidents): political parties, independent personalities who are symbols of the Syrian opposition" and most of them live in Syria, Qadmani said. Syrians have been holding protests since March 15 calling for political reforms.

      According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, 2,600 people have been killed in the violent crackdown since the protests erupted.