Syria accused of fresh ‘massacre’Agence France-Presse . Damascus
Syrian forces were accused Wednesday of having ‘executed’ 15 civilians, as the office of envoy Kofi Annan said members of a UN observer team were evacuated a day after a bomb blast hit their convoy.
‘After regime forces raided the neighbourhood of Shammas (in the central city of Homs), 15 civilians were found summarily executed,’ Rami Abdel Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, in what he branded a ‘massacre.’
The overnight killings came one day after regime forces were accused of another massacre in the town of Khan Sheikhun in northwest Idlib when they opened fire on a funeral procession and reportedly killed 20 people.
Abdel Rahman said a 43-year-old Muslim cleric who had six children was among those killed in Homs. ‘Everybody loved this cleric, because he called for national unity,’ he said, adding the cleric had been involved in charity work.
The killings were reported hours after the Observatory said regime troops shot dead at least five people in a new assault in Khan Sheikhun and opened fire on a refugee camp in Daraa to the south, killing three civilians.
Four others died of wounds suffered on Tuesday during the funeral in Khan Sheikhun, according to the Britain-based group. Regime forces on Wednesday also killed a young man in a raid on Mleiha al-Aatsh village of Daraa province, the watchdog said. And in Homs province, a civilian was killed in Rastan under regime bombardment, the Observatory said.
The watchdog updated its toll of people killed in Syria on Tuesday to 64.
During the funeral in Khan Sheikhun, a convoy of UN truce observers was struck by a homemade bomb, damaging three vehicles but causing no casualties, the UN said.
Six members of the team were forced because of blast damage to the car to spend Tuesday night with activists in Khan Sheikhun, which was under regime shelling, an activist said.
‘The blast came as the observers made their way in a convoy of vehicles along a narrow street in Khan Sheikhun, said activists, rebels and the watchdog. The United Nations, which accuses both sides of violating an April 12 ceasefire, reaffirmed its condemnation of any violence against the monitors.
‘This mission is there to help the people of Syria, to help ensure that the six-point plan is implemented,’ spokesman Martin Nesirky said, referring to Annan’s peace plan.
Iran, the main regional ally of Syria, said on Wednesday that Damascus needed more time to make the plan work.
‘More time should be given to the Syrian government in order to make Kofi Annan’s plan a success,’ foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi said, quoted by Iran’s ISNA news agency.
Meanwhile, Annan urged Syria to stop delaying an agreement on allowing UN access to more than one million Syrians in need of assistance, saying the process had been ‘very slow.’
Annan ‘remains extremely concerned about the plight of one million Syrians in need of humanitarian assistance,’ said Nesirky.
The bloodshed comes despite the truce brokered by Annan as part of a six-point plan aimed at ending violence that has swept Syria since March 2011 when the uprising against president Bashar al-Assad began.
comments powered by Disqus