The bodies of four Syrians who had been arrested were found Saturday with signs of torture in restive Homs province, activists said, urging a visiting Arab League team to document the cases.
"The corpses of four citizens were found this morning in the streets of the town of Hula and a fifth citizen was found in a critical condition," said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The central province of Homs has been a focal point of the government's crackdown on anti-regime demonstrations as well as the site of fierce clashes between the army and mutinous soldiers, the activists say.
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"Security forces and 'Shabiha' (pro-regime militia) groups had arrested them after midnight on Friday-Saturday in the Al-Bustan neighbourhood... There were signs of torture on the bodies of the martyrs," the Observatory said in a statement sent to AFP in Nicosia.
The watchdog demanded that the Arab League, which sent a team to Damascus on Thursday, "immediately head to the town of Hula to document this flagrant violation of human rights which is just the tip of the iceberg of what is going on in Syria."
Another two civilians, including a 15-year-old, died on Saturday from gunshot wounds after being fired at by security forces at Nawa, in southern Daraa province, the rights group said.
The Observatory documented the killing of at least 21 civilians on Friday alone.
The toll includes 11 people killed in the flashpoint central city of Homs, two in Douma, near Damascus, another two in the central city of Hama, three in the northwestern province of Idlib, and one more in the southern province of Daraa, cradle of the uprising that erupted in March.