Report: Syria Forces Kill 20 as Violent Protest Crackdowns Continue

Rights activists say bodies of those shot dead a day earlier in town of Rastan arrive at Homs hospital; deaths raise Rastan death toll to 36 since beginning of the week.

Two rights activists say the bodies of 20 people shot dead in a central Syrian town have been brought to a hospital in the region.

The activists say the bodies were brought to the central city of Homs on Wednesday.

Homs Syria May 27, 2011.

The activists say the people were shot dead on Tuesday night in the town of Rastan, which has seen a major military clampdown on opponents of President Bashar Assad in the past few days.

The deaths raise to 36 the number of people killed in Rastan and the nearby towns of Talbiseh and Teir Maaleh since Saturday. The activists spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of government reprisals.

Rights groups say more than 1,000 people have been killed in the regime's crackdown on a 10-week uprising against Assad's regime.

The activists' report came after earlier Wednesday Australia's foreign minister called on the United Nations to refer Assad to the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

In a speech where he announced an expansion of sanctions against the embattled Syrian president, Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said "I believe it is high time the Security Council now consider a formal referral of President Assad to the International Criminal Court."

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also stepped up her rhetoric on Tuesday, saying that the reported torture of a Syrian boy shows the "total collapse" of Syrian authorities' willingness to listen to anti-government protesters.