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THE judgment of an Arab League observer mission in Syria has been called into question after its leader, Sudanese general Mustafa al-Dabi, described the situation in the opposition stronghold of Homs as ''reassuring'', despite video footage showing his monitors witnessing heavy gunfire and being shown civilian casualties.

Syrian opposition groups reported more deaths in Hama, where security forces allegedly used live ammunition against protesters in the city centre ahead of an Arab League mission overnight. Estimates of casualties ranged from seven wounded to six killed.

An international human right lobby group, the Human Right Watch (HRW) has decried the continued civil right abuses inflicted on civilians in Somalia following the Kenya's incursion into the horn of African nation in October. HRW asked Kenya to investigate the death of villagers during an air strike by the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) where an unconfirmed number of people were killed and scores injured.

NATO has admitted for the first time Libyan civilians were killed and injured during its seven-month bombing campaign that led to the ouster and death of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. The acknowledgment came after a New York Times investigation revealed at least 40 civilians, and perhaps more than 70, were killed by NATO air strikes, including at least 29 women or children

The campaign by Britain, France, the United States and their allies has severely divided the UN Security Council with Nato's opponents blaming the strikes for the failure to condemn Syria's clampdown on demonstrators.

Russia's UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said he would speak to the UN Security Council this week about estimates given to The New York Times saying Nato air attacks this year had killed between 40 and 70 civilians in Libya.

Sri Lankan ethnic Tamil leaders called Monday for an international war crimes inquiry into events during the final stages of the country's civil war, criticizing a commission report that cleared government forces of deliberately targeting civilians.

The United States, meanwhile, expressed concerns that the report did not fully address all the allegations of serious human rights violations. The State Department called on the Sri Lanka to address those shortcomings, but stopped short itself of supporting an international inquiry.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay briefed the Security Council on Syria in closed consultations that the situation was intolerable and amounted to crimes against humanity. With more killings over the weekend, it was her estimation that the number of dead was “probably exceeding 5,000”, 1,000 higher than the one she announced just 10 days ago.

HADITHA, IRAQ — In the accounting of what was won and lost in America’s Iraq war, this sleepy farming town deep in the western desert will rank as a place where almost everything was lost.

It was here, on Nov. 19, 2005, that a group of Marines went on a shooting spree in which 24 Iraqi civilians were killed. Their patrol had been hit by a roadside bomb and one of their comrades was dead. They ordered five men out of a taxi and gunned them down. Then they went into three nearby homes and shot 19 people, including 11 women and children.

Early on Friday, Palestinian medical officials said an Israeli air strike hit a Hamas training camp in Gaza City, sending shrapnel flying into nearby houses, killing one civilian and wounding 13 others, mostly women and children. The Israeli military confirmed the air strike early Friday had been carried out.

Violence across the Israeli-Gaza border escalated on Thursday with IAF air strikes killing at least two people and Palestinian militants firing rockets deep into southern Israel on Friday.

BAGHDAD, Dec 2 (Reuters) - The number of Iraqi civilians killed in attacks fell in November, health ministry figures show, despite fears that the looming end of the eight-year presence of U.S. troops could open the door for new bloodshed.

Washington is pulling its last troops out of Iraq by year's end after invading in 2003 to topple Saddam Hussein. Violence has dropped since sectarian slaughter in 2006-2007, but Sunni Muslim insurgents and Shi'ite militia still mount attacks.

The health ministry figures showed 112 civilians killed in attacks in November, down from October's year high of 161. Forty-two Iraqi police and 33 soldiers were also killed, according to the interior...

NATO's US-led force in Afghanistan will retrain its troops by December 5 on how to avoid civilian casualties following fresh deaths, President Hamid Karzai's office said Tuesday.

The move comes with NATO already facing uncomfortable fallout after an air strike killed 24 Pakistani troops near the Afghan border on Saturday.