BRUSSELS - The European Union on Tuesday strongly condemned an "unacceptable" crackdown against peaceful protests in Syria that has resulted in deaths, injuries and arbitrary detentions.
The EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement that the 27-nation bloc "strongly condemns the violent repression, including through the use of live ammunition, of peaceful protests in various locations across Syria".
She added: "The EU calls on the Syrian authorities to refrain from using violence and to listen to the legitimate aspirations of the people and address them through inclusive political dialogue and genuine reforms and not through repression."
The crackdown has resulted in the deaths of several demonstrators, wounded persons and arbitrary detentions "which is unacceptable", the statement said.
It also called for a Syrian interior ministry investigative committee to ensure those responsible for the death and injury of peaceful protesters in the city of Daara to be held accountable.
Hundreds of protesters gathered in Daraa Tuesday for a fifth day of anti-regime demonstrations.
The town, home to large tribal families, has been since Friday the site of unprecedented protests demanding the end of Syria's ruling Assad regime.
Six people have been killed in a security crackdown on the demonstrations, including an 11-year-old boy who died after inhaling tear gas on Monday.