Violence flared again in Syria where three more civilians were killed on Tuesday, one of them in a raid launched after suspected mutinous soldiers shot dead three members of the security forces, a rights group said.
Gunmen believed to be army deserters also abducted two security forces in a daring attack on their car near the town of Saraqeb in the northwestern province of Edleb, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
After the attack, in which three members of the security forces were shot dead, Syrian troops raided Saraqeb, killing one civilian with gunfire and wounding three others, the watchdog said.
A second civilian was killed in the flashpoint central city of Homs when a sniper opened fire on him from a security checkpoint, the group said.
And a third down was shot dead by a sniper in the Rankuss, near Damascus, as he tried to flee the town where Syrian forces have carried out deadly raids since Sunday, the Observatory said.
According to the group at least 17 people have been killed by the security forces in Rankuss since Sunday while troops were carrying more raids on Tuesday to arrest wanted militants.
Living conditions also deteriorated in Rankuss, the Observatory said quoting a militant in the town who said residents have been unable to take their wounded to hospital out of fear they would be arrested by authorities.
"Residents are unable to bury their dead or take their wounded to hospital because they are afraid they will be arrested by the security forces who are massively deployed in the town," the Observatory said in a statement.
Security forces also set fire to the home of one man wanted by the authorities, the activist added.
Meanwhile at least 29 high school students were arrested when security forces raided their school in the town of Jassem in the southern province of Daraa, cradle of more than eight months of anti-regime unrest.
The latest bloodshed comes a day after UN investigators said crimes against humanity have been committed in Syria which on Sunday was hit with crippling Arab sanctions over its lethal crackdown against protesters.
Evidence gathered by the Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria found state officials guilty of murders, rape and torture, in their brutal crackdown on protesters since March.
The Human Rights Council set up the commission in August to investigate human rights violations in Syria where the UN estimates at least 3,500 people have been killed.
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