June 1, 2012
June 1, 2012
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday that she and Russian President Vladimir Putin both favored a political solution in Syria.
“The latest massacre in Houla showed once again how terrible the human and human rights situation is in Syria,” Merkel said at a joint news conference with Putin after talks in Berlin.
“We both made clear that we want a political solution, and that the Annan plan can be a starting point, but we must work with all our energy and force, particularly in the U.N. Security Council, on implementing this plan and if necessary developing other political actions.”
President Putin on the other hand said “Russia supports neither side in Syria”.
The Russian President said he saw signs that a civil war was breaking out in strife-torn Syria.
“Today we are seeing emerging elements of civil war,” he told reporters. “It is extremely dangerous.”
“A political solution is possible in Syria. You cannot do anything by force”, Putin added, saying that “Russia does not supply weapons to Syria that can be used in a civil war”.
In Syria, regime forces opened fire on protesters killing thirty people across the country according to Local Coordination Committees.
Scores of protests broke out across Syria to condemn the May 25 Houla massacre.
At one protest in Douma, “regime forces opened fire on demonstrators. Everyone had to run away because there was nobody there to protect them,” activist Mohammed al-Dumani said via Skype.
The demonstrations were called to commemorate the 108 victims of a massacre last week, including 49 children, in the central town of Houla. Activists hailed the children as the “flares of victory” in the 15-month anti-regime uprising.
Large crowds in Aleppo, northern Syria, “chanted for the victory of the martyrs of Houla,” also reportedly coming under regime gunfire, another activist who declined to be named told AFP.
The U.N.-backed ceasefire that came into force on April 12 has failed to take hold. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, almost 2,300 people have been killed since the start of the truce.
Earlier on Friday, regime troops killed five people during raids in the town of Daraya outside the capital Damascus, the Britain-based monitoring group said.
Regime troops stormed the town -a center for the armed opposition – with tanks and fired shells at its western districts, the Observatory said.
Local activists said the five killed were civilians, adding that one of them was an activist and “regime forces burnt his body completely after they killed him.”
The Houla massacre, which Damascus blamed on “armed groups,” stoked an international outcry and the expulsion of top Syrian diplomats from several Western countries.
On Friday morning, in Al-Esseily neighborhood of Damascus, protesters demanded that further action be taken against the Syrian authorities.
“O Arabs, we demand more than the expulsion of the (Syrian) ambassadors; we also demand the expulsion of the Russian and Chinese ambassadors” in Damascus, read one poster.
In the southern province of Daraa, a man was shot dead as he left a mosque in Al-Sheikh Maskeen village, while heavy gunfire and explosions were reported in several towns.
In Homs province, a child was injured in regime shelling of Houla, according to the Observatory.
Source: Alarabiya with agencies