Fresh clashes kill 39 in SyriaAgence France-Presse . Beirut
Fierce fighting erupted on Wednesday between regime troops and rebels near Damascus and in Homs province, a watchdog said, while reporting 39 more people killed across Syria.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said five people were killed in the Damascus suburb of Douma, a hotbed of anti-regime
sentiment, while a civilian was shot dead in Daraya, in the same province.
Also in Damascus province, government troops opened fire on mourners attending a mass funeral in Al-Diabiya, killing four, said the Britain-based watchdog.
In central Homs province, four people died at Qusayr, scene of earlier explosions, while another five people, including a regular soldier, were killed in the city of Homs, it said.
Two people were killed in the region of Hama when fighting took place in the town of Kafarzita between troops and rebels. Later, in Hama city, residents held a general strike to mourn the deaths of the two men.
In Jabal al-Zawiya, a rebel commander was killed in northeastern Idlib.
A sniper shot dead a man at Aleppo in the north, while unidentified gunmen killed an 18-year-old in eastern Deir Ezzor. A rebel fighter was also killed in the same province, the Observatory added.
In the same region, visiting UN monitors condemned the killing of 13 people whose bodies were found late Tuesday at Assukar, near Deir Ezzor, many of whom had been shot at close range, they said.
Meanwhile, Washington slapped sanctions on the Syria International Islamic Bank on Wednesday, saying it had helped the Damascus regime skirt sanctions placed on the country’s leading bank.
Qatar is supporting the move with ‘corresponding actions,’ the US Treasury said, as the US and allies step up pressure on the regime of Assad, accused of orchestrating a brutal campaign of repression against a popular uprising.
The Treasury said SIIB ‘has acted as a front’ for the Commercial Bank of Syria, Syria’s largest commercial bank, allowing it to circumvent sanctions already set by the United States, the European Union and the Arab League.
‘Today’s action will add to the economic pressure on the Assad regime by closing off a key evasion route,’ said under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence David Cohen.
Syria ordered the Dutch charge d’affaires on Wednesday to leave the country, the foreign ministry said, in an apparent reaction to the expulsion of Syrian diplomats by a slew of Western countries.
The foreign minister, Uri Rosenthal, said the decision was ‘not suprising,’ adding in a statement given to AFP by his spokesman that the diplomat, Janet Alberda, had already left the country.
On Tuesday, numerous Western nations, including the United States, Britain and France, expelled Syrian diplomats in the wake of a massacre of civilians in Syria over the weekend.
For its part, the Netherlands declared Syria’s ambassador ‘persona non-grata’ to protest the massacre of at least 108 people in Houla.
The decision means Syrian ambassador Mohammad Ayman Jamil Soussan, who lives in Brussels and whose mission represents Damascus both in Belgium and the Netherlands, will not be received by the Dutch foreign minister or its foreign affairs department.
The Netherlands recalled its ambassador on February 7 and closed its Damascus embassy on March 20 to express the “revulsion we feel in the face of the appalling violence of the Syrian government,” Rosenthal said at the time.
comments powered by Disqus