May 13, 2011 / 9:42 AM / 7 years ago

Up to 850 killed in Syria -U.N. rights office

GENEVA, May 13 (Reuters) - The death toll in Syria may be as high as 850 and thousands of demonstrators have been arrested during a two-month military crackdown, the United Nations human rights office said on Friday.

“We again call on the government to exercise restraint, to cease use of force and mass arrests to silence opponents,” Rupert Colville, spokesman of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, told a news briefing.

The toll of 700-to-850 dead, based on information provided by human rights activists, was “quite likely to be genuine”, he added.

Colville voiced concern about arrest and torture of dissidents in Bahrain, including the death of four detainees while in custody, and announced that Yemen had accepted a visit by a U.N. human rights mission, suggesting a date of late June.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay and Barbara Lewis; Editing by Michael Roddy

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