UN chief urges Syria to stop killing ‘in the name of humanity' after Aleppo massacre

UN chief urges Syria to stop killing ‘in the name of humanity' after Aleppo massacre

New York City : NY : USA | Jan 30, 2013 at 9:42 AM PST
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Syria: UN Secretary General calls for President Assad to 'stop killing'

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has made an ardent appeal to all combatants in the 22-month civil strife in Syria to end the killings “in the name of humanity,” especially after the shocking Aleppo massacre.

Speaking at an UN-sponsored global aid donors conference in Kuwait on Wednesday, Ban told envoys from around sixty countries, including Russia and Iran, key allies of President Bashar al-Assad's regime: "I appeal to all sides and particularly the Syrian government, to stop the killing ... in the name of humanity, stop the killing, stop the violence."

At least 79 dead bodies of men, many of them with their hands tied behind their back, were found on the muddy banks of the river in Bustan al-Qasr, Aleppo on Tuesday. Syrian state media outlet SANA blamed the jihadi group Jabhat al-Nusra for the suspected execution-type killings of those men in Aleppo.

SANA routinely blames “terrorists” for any such massacre. But of late it has begun to target the Jabhat al-Nusra group, which is linked to the al-Qaida. Just last year, the US described this Islamic group as a terrorist organization. According to SANA, Syrian troops were involved in a conflict with terrorists in the Bustan al-Qasr area, where the bodies were found.

Ruth Sherlock of the Telegraph newspaper, who is in Aleppo, reported that it was impossible to be absolutely certain as to who could be behind the killings of the 79 men. "But those identified, at least half the total by nightfall, were from rebel-held districts, and locals blamed government checkpoints on the other side of the river."

The Syrian National Coalition, the opposition party in Syria, has expressed its shock at what it claimed were field executions by Assad's forces. It has even demanded the UN Security Council to put Syria’s case before the International Criminal Court.

Meanwhile, Ban, speaking at the International Humanitarian Pledging conference in Kuwait, also pleaded for more aid to tackle the Syrian crisis, which he described as nothing short of “catastrophic” and worsening by the day.

"Every day Syrians face unrelenting horrors" including sexual violence and detentions, Ban said, adding that a lot remains to be done to secure humanitarian aid.

“How many more people will be killed if the current situation continues?" the UN chief asked.

Meanwhile, donors worldwide have pledged more than $1 billion in aid for beleaguered Syrians who have been displaced by nearly two years of civil war. Kuwait's emir pledged $300 million to help to fund humanitarian efforts in Syria.

Sources: Global Post/The Telegraph/RTE News

* Other links given in the report

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United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon urges Syria's president to halt violence against protesters.
Nina Rai is based in Mangaluru, Karnataka, India, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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