Thursday, 02 August 2012
Thursday, 02 August 2012
A raid by Syrian security forces near the capital Damascus killed 43 people, some of whom were tortured and executed, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Thursday.
“Regime forces entered the Jdaidet Artuz district (southwest of Damascus) on Wednesday and arrested around 100 young people who were taken to a school and tortured,” the watchdog said in a statement.
“On Thursday morning after the operation the bodies of 43 people were recovered. Some of them had been summarily executed.”
The United States Wednesday denounced Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as “cowardly” and “despicable” for calling on his forces to continue the fight against opposition rebels.
“We think it’s cowardly quite frankly to have a man who’s hiding out of sight be exhorting his armed forces to continue to slaughter the civilians of his own country,” said a U.S. State Department spokesman, Patrick Ventrell.
“We think it’s despicable to be exhorting his armed forces to continue this slaughter, and this bloodshed,” Ventrell said, reacting to a speech by Assad published by Syria’s official news agency SANA.
Earlier Wednesday Assad said that the Syrian army was engaged in a “crucial and heroic battle… on which the destiny of the nation and its people rests” in a speech marking the 67th anniversary of the army.
“The enemy is among us today, using agents to destabilize the country, the security of its citizens… and continues to exhaust our economic and scientific resources,’ Assad said.
Damascus does not recognize the popular revolt that erupted in March 2011, describing opposition activists and rebels of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) alike as “armed terrorist groups” financed by foreign powers and sent to sow chaos.
Friday vote at the U.N.
Meanwhile, the U.N. General Assembly will on Friday vote on an Arab-drafted resolution calling on Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad to stand down, as the deadly fighting continues unabated in his country.
The resolution is largely symbolic, but diplomats say it is a sign of the anger and frustration felt by many nations at the failure to agree international action against Assad over the escalating conflict.
The United States has again criticized Russia and China for vetoing three U.N. Security Council resolutions which had raised possible sanctions against Syria.
“Those decisions are made at the highest levels in Beijing and Moscow,” said Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
“We’ve worked at every level to try to change what we think is a self-defeating course of action from their point of view.
“They seem for the moment determined to protect Assad at all costs, even at the expense of the blood of the people of Syria,” Rice said in an interview with the online media outlet Buzzfeed.com.
The General Assembly resolution, drawn up by Saudi Arabia with support from other Arab nations, also targets Russia and China, without naming them, by “deploring the Security Council failure” to act on Syria.
The resolution condemns “the Syrian authorities’ increasing use of heavy weapons, including indiscriminate shelling from tanks and helicopters” and calls on Assad to carry out a promise to withdraw troops and weapons to barracks.
It also demands the “establishment of a consensus transitional governing body,” which would entail Assad standing down, and that all sides work with UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan to carry out a move to free elections.
Resolutions in the 193-country General Assembly are not mandatory under international law — unlike those of the 15-member Security Council — but carry moral weight. No country can veto a General Assembly resolution.
It is assured of being passed but much attention will be focused on how many countries oppose the resolution.
Source ( Al Arabiya )