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UN rights body extends Syria probe to March 2014

Friday - 3/22/2013, 8:59am  ET

In this citizen journalism image taken on Wednesday, March 20, 2013 provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Syrian citizens search for dead bodies on the rubble of damaged buildings that were attacked by Syrian forces airstrikes, at al-Zarazir neighborhood, in Aleppo, Syria. Syrian rebels captured one village and parts of others on the edge of the Golan Heights Thursday as fighting closed in on the strategic plateau that Israel captured from Syria in 1967 and later annexed, activists and officials said.(AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center, AMC)

GENEVA (AP) -- The U.N.'s top human rights body has extended its probe of suspected abuses in Syria for another year.

By a vote of 41-1, the 47-nation U.N. Human Rights Council reauthorized the probe by a panel of four independent experts until March 2014, a half-year longer than originally was proposed.

Those in favor Friday included the United States, Germany, Libya, Pakistan, Qatar and United Arab Emirates. Only Venezuela was opposed. Abstaining were Ecuador, India, Kazakhstan, Philippines and Uganda.

Earlier this month the panel, which began its work in August 2011, said it is collecting evidence on 20 massacres in Syria, a reflection of the civil war's growing brutality.

The United Nations estimates more than 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict, which started two years ago as a popular uprising.

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