WASHINGTON, April 20 (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday condemned violence in Syria and said the Syrian government must stop the arbitrary arrest, detention and torture of prisoners.
"We are particularly concerned about the situation in Homs where multiple reports suggest violence and casualties among both civilians and government personnel," she said at a news conference. Independent confirmation was difficult because journalists were not being allowed access, she said.
Activists in the central city of Homs say more than 20 pro-democracy protesters have been shot dead since Monday by soldiers and other forces.
"The Syrian government must allow free movement and free access, it must stop the arbitrary arrest, detentions and torture of prisoners," Clinton said.
She called on the Syrian government to cease violence and respond to "the legitimate issues that have been raised by the Syrian people seeking substantial and lasting reform."
(Reporting by Tabassum Zakaria; Editing by Bill Trott)