Dozens killed as Syrian opposition leader warns of civil war


At least 24 people were killed, two of them children aged 10 and 12, as Syria’s security forces continued a bloody crackdown on dissident groups.

The children died in Homs, according to opposition activists who said two teenagers were among the dead elsewhere. One opposition group put yesterday's death toll at 35. More than 4,000 are estimated by the UN to have died since the military began its crackdown against anti-government supporters. The renewed bloodshed came as Syria's main opposition leader said he had urged military defectors to limit their actions to defending anti-government protesters.

The Syrian National Council leader, Burhan Ghalioun, said he pressed the leader of the Free Syrian Army rebels to rein in operations after they launched attacks on troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. But he said: "We're worried we will slide toward a civil war which pits a free army and an official army against each other."