Syria uprising killings rise to 1,300: activists

AMMAN (Reuters) – The main Syrian activist group organizing protests said on Sunday a violent crackdown has killed 1,300 civilians and called on President Bashar al-Assad to step down to transform the country into a democracy.

The Local Coordination Committees said in a statement power must be handed to the army and an internationally supervised conference should convene within six months to write a new constitution and “stop Syria from sliding into chaos and guarantee a peaceful transfer of power.”

“The regime… has forced the army into a confrontation with its own people, as if Syria did not have land under occupation (to be liberated). It has worked on stirring sectarian fears without any consideration for national cohesion,” it said.

The conference would include “regime politicians with no blood on their hands,” representatives of the opposition and activists on the ground, the statement said.

“Syria is a civic nation, not the ownership of an individual, a family or party. It is not a possession to be bequeathed,” it said, referring to 41 years of Assad family rule.

More than 10,000 Syrians have been arrested since the uprising erupted in the southern Hauran Plain three months ago, the statement said.

(Reporting by Khaled Yacoub Oweis; Editing by Louise Ireland)