UN rights body condemns Syria over Houla massacre and demands independent investigation

UN rights body condemns Syria over Houla massacre and demands independent investigation

Geneva : Switzerland | Jun 01, 2012 at 1:36 PM PDT
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5/17/11: White House Press Briefing

The United Nations Human Rights Council condemned Syria on Friday and called U.N. for an independent probe into the massacre in the Syrian town of Houla, Al-Jazeera news network reported.

Forty-one members of the 47 Council members supported the resolution urging an independent investigation into last Friday’s massacre in Houla. Russia, China and Cuba voted against. Three members abstained, AFP news reported.

The three countries described the tabled draft as "biased and one-sided." They criticized it for containing a foregone conclusion that the Syrian government was to blame.

The resolution was put forward by Qatar, Turkey and the United States amid international outrage at the killing of 108 people, including more than 69 children and women, in Houla last Friday.

For her part, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called for the Security Council to refer Syria to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and for world powers to help implement Kofi Annan's peace plan to end the violence, Reuters news reported.

In Damascus, during a press conference at the Syrian foreign ministry, Brigadier General Qassem Jamal Suleiman, head of the investigation committee formed by the regime, said that there was no evidence to indicate that artillery bombing by Syrian forces had led to the bloodshed, state news agency SANA reported, adding that initial findings indicated that the victims were killed by fire at close distance and sharp tools, not by shellfire.

"Victims belonged to peaceful families who wouldn't stand up to the state and had never joined protests or held up arms, who also had opposed the armed terrorist groups," Suleiman told Syrian TV reporter.

In related news, Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said :Russia believes the Houla massacre would have hardly been possible if its perpetrators had not received arms and funds from abroad.

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said: the tragedy of Houla has shown what can happen from financial assistance, delivery of modern weapons smuggled to the rebels, the recruitment of mercenaries and advances in all sorts of extremists."

"Some key players on the international stage are not ready to act in a logic and peaceful settlement," Lukashevich added.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday during a press briefing in Berlin that Russia was not providing weapons to Syria because this could be used in a civil war.

On the other hand, Syrian opposition sources on Thursday said that a ship carrying Russian weapons arrived last weekend in the Syrian port of Tartus, which hosts a Russian naval base. The U.S. then announced its agencies were collecting information on the ship and called Moscow to suspend supplies of weapons to the Syrian authorities.

On the ground, opposition activists on Friday reported that regime troops killed five people during raids in the town of Daraya outside the Damascus.

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, Al-arabiya news reported.

Related: http://www.dp-news.com/en/detail.aspx?articleid=122140



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Syria envoy Kofi Annan (C-L) meets Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (C-R) in Damascus Tuesday
Syria envoy Kofi Annan (C-L) meets Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (C-R) in Damascus Tuesday
saleh1966 is based in Gaza, Ġazzah, Palestine, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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