Beirut: Human Rights Watch has accused Syrian government forces of using civilians as human shields during recent military operations.
The international watchdog said on Sunday that the Army and pro-regime gunmen forced residents to march in front of them as they advanced on opposition-held areas in the northern Idlib province.
The group cited witnesses who said it was clear that the purpose of the marching order was to protect the Army from attack.
Syria has been trying to put down a year-old uprising. The UN estimates more than 8,000 people have been killed in the crackdown.