|Syria 140 DEAD - What Gov Kills It's Own People!|
|Written by AFP|
|Monday, 01 August 2011|
"Those responsible for these attacks must be held accountable and brought to justice,"
Hariri Condemns Hama 'Slaughter': We Cannot Remain Silent
Former premier Saad Hariri condemned Sunday “the slaughter the Syrian city of Hama is being subjected to and all the bloody acts of killing in Homs, Idlib, Deir Ezzor, Daraa and several other cities and regions on the eve of the holy month of Ramadan.”
“These bloody incidents definitely contradict with all the intentions that want sisterly Syria and its defiant people to overcome the current crisis,” Hariri said in a statement.
More than 136 people were killed on Sunday, among them 100 in the flashpoint protest city of Hama, when the Syrian military launched an attack against several cities on the eve of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, human rights activists said.
“Silence at the Arab and international levels regarding what’s happening in Syria, especially in the city of Hama -- which suffered the most appalling massacres against its residents in the 1980s – does not pave the ground for the needed solutions, but will rather push towards further deaths among the ranks of the brotherly Syrian people,” Hariri warned.
“We in Lebanon cannot under any circumstances remain silent regarding these bloody developments in the Syrian arena,” Hariri added, calling on “all of those concerned to contain the situation in order to enable the Syrian people of making its choices freely and within their humanitarian rights.”
The former premier also hoped the Syrian people “will overcome the current painful crisis as soon as possible.”
Hama and the eastern oil hub of Deir Ezzor have been rallying points for pro-democracy protests since mid-March.
In 1982, an estimated 20,000 people were killed in Hama when the army put down an Islamist revolt against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad's late father, Hafez.
The president replaced the governor of Hama after a record 500,000 protesters rallied in the opposition bastion on July 1 calling for the fall of the regime.
Since anti-regime protests broke out, the crackdown on dissent has resulted in the deaths of more than 1,500 civilians and more than 360 members of the security forces, according to a Syrian Observatory toll.
More than 12,000 people are also reported to have been arrested.
EU Condemns 'Totally Unjustified' Syrian Crackdown
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Sunday condemned the "totally unjustified assault" by Syria's military on anti-regime protesters, which activists said had claimed nearly 140 lives Sunday.
"I am shocked at the latest reports from Syria that large numbers of civilians have again been killed in a totally unjustified assault by Syrian security forces on the town of Hama," Ashton said in a statement.
Of those killed on Sunday, a hundred were shot as the security forces stormed Hama, said activists.
"This attack and the continuing crackdown in other Syrian cities is even more unacceptable coming on the eve of the holy month of Ramadan," Ashton added.
"The Syrian army and security forces have the duty to protect citizens, not to massacre them indiscriminately.
"Those responsible for these attacks must be held accountable and brought to justice," the statement added.
Source Agence France Presse
Massive Use Of Terror In Syria
Items About Areas That Could Break Out Into War
The army is concerned about the loyalty of the army. With at least half the Syrian 400,000 security forces (police and army) of uncertain reliability, the government is using the 100,000 or so reliable killers (mainly Republican Guard and secret police, plus Hezbollah gunmen from Lebanon and security specialists from Iran) to terrorize (and slaughter, if need be) those civilians who continue to oppose the government. This is a risky strategy, because if enough less reliable troops and police shoot back, it's all over for the dictatorship. But the government hard-liners, led by the president's brother (Maher Assad), have won the argument over how to handle the unrest. There's no going back from this. Iran continues to send in more security experts, and perhaps trained killers as well. More Hezbollah gunmen continue to arrive from Lebanon. The Assad clan apparently is ready for a fight to the death.
Syrian dictator Bashir Assad came to power a decade ago, promising reform. But while there was some more economic freedom, Syria remained a dictatorship dominated by the Assad family, the Alawite minority and the Baath Party. Bashir has now demonstrated that he can be as brutal and ruthless as his father, whose signature repressive act was the 1982 destruction of a town held by Sunni Islamic radicals. That attack crushed the Sunni opposition. Hafez Assad was not challenged for the remaining 18 years of his life, and he died in bed, with his son Bashir succeeding him. But that was a more tyrant-friendly time. The Arab Spring has made it clear that democracy is now the preferred method of governing. Bashir believes that old-school violence will crush the opposition. Bashir has the tools to apply lots of pain.
The police state, perfected by the 20th century communists, was designed to keep democrats, and other threats, from overturning a dictatorship. The Assads, and the Baath Party, learned from the Russians (when they ruled the Soviet Union from 1922-91), as did most other Arab dictators. Actually, many of the communist techniques were ancient (secret police, informer network), and the Arab tyrants had some ancient techniques (nepotism) that the communists had tried to discard. However, communist and traditional police states still had a major weakness; poor economic performance. In the 21st century, with its pervasive media and social networking, that has become a fatal distraction. Dictators stay in power by being feared, not loved. But when the population grows angrier and angrier about their poverty and lack of opportunity, they develop something worth dying for.
Police states are now under more pressure because of the growing popular unrest, and Syria is a test of whether the traditional means of repression will work. In economic terms, only about ten percent of the population benefit from a dictatorship. This fraction of the population supplies the manpower for the secret police (about 50,000 full-timers on the payroll) and the leadership of the armed forces (300,000 troops and 100,000 paramilitary, the majority of them Sunni, led by largely Alawite officers.) The Alawites are five percent of the population. Sunni Arabs are about 75 percent. Other minorities (Shia, Druze, Christian) will, up to a point, side with the Alawites (a common pattern in the Middle East, where non-Sunni minorities have long been persecuted).
The Alawites fear retribution, and for good reason. The Alawites have used terror to maintain power for decades. Most Syrians have good reason to hate the Alawites, as well as all those (mostly other minorities) who have supported the government. While some of the protestors are minorities, most of them are Sunnis. Al Qaeda, which is basically a radical Sunni group, is trying to hijack the revolution, without much success. Syrian Sunnis saw the carnage caused by al Qaeda next door in Iraq, and want no part of that.
July 31, 2011: Thousands of troops moved into Hama, and several other rebellious towns, killing and wounding hundreds of civilians as they did do. This was apparently being done in an attempt to crush the resistance before the holy month of Ramadan begins on August 1st. The troops used tanks to fire, seemingly at random, at houses and buildings. There was no organized enemy for the troops to attack, so they attacked everyone. It was a large scale act of terror. The attacks occurred throughout the country, including on the Iraqi border and in the outskirts of the capital.
July 30, 2011: Another attack damaged the oil pipeline in the east, in an attempt to cut oil sales revenue that keeps the government in business. The tourist industry, which accounts for about ten percent of GDP, has already collapsed, depriving the government of tax revenue. It's expected that the GDP will shrink at least three percent this year, and maybe much more as the economic disruptions increase. Before that, economic reforms had led to annual economic growth of five percent a year.
July 29, 2011: For the 17th time, thousands of Syrians demonstrated throughout the country on Friday, to call for democracy and an end to the police state. But the police state is moving into high gear, with more and more raids and arrests of suspected protest leaders.
July 27, 2011: Al Qaeda’s new leader, Ayman al Zawahiri, declared support for Syria’s pro-democracy demonstrators. Al Qaeda is unpopular in Syria, and al Qaeda has long proclaimed that democracy is un-Islamic. But al Qaeda needs publicity wherever they can get it.
July 25, 2011: The government has offered to pass a law allowing political parties. For decades, only the Baath Party was allowed to exist. This offer is not likely to work, because Syrians believe that new parties would be greatly restricted.
July 24, 2011: In Lebanon, pro-and anti-Assad groups clashed again. In Syria, the governor of Homs province, after the army crushed armed resistance in the city of Homs. The violence lasted two days. The violence included armed attacks on military targets.
July 23, 2011: Near the city of Homs, railroad tracks were damaged and a train derailed as a result (killing one and injuring a dozen.)
Russia calls for halt to violence in Syria
01 Aug 2011 09:55
MOSCOW, Aug 1 (Reuters) - Russia said on Monday it was concerned by reports of bloodshed in the Syrian city of Hama and called for an end to the violence.
"Moscow is seriously concerned by information about numerous casualties," the Foreign Ministry said. "The use of force against civilians and representatives of state structures is unacceptable and must cease."
Rights activists said 80 civilians were killed in Sunday's tank-backed assault on the central Syrian city of Hama, one of the bloodiest days of a five-month-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad. (Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge, editing by Timothy Heritage)
There has been international condemnation following the latest violence in Syria after government troops cracked down on protesters.
United States president Barack Obama said he was horrified by what he described as the Syrian govenment's brutality against innocent people and promised to work to isolate President Bashar al-Assad.
Security forces killed dozens in the city of Hama on Sunday, the BBC reports.
The government said troops were sent to Hama to remove barricades erected by the protesters.
Germany has formally requested the United Nations Security Council to discuss the Syrian government's offensive against demonstrators.
The move is likely to reopen bitter divisions within the council, which has not yet been able to agree on even a statement on Mr Assad's four-month-old crackdown against opponents.
Turkey said it was deeply sad and disappointed by the developments on the eve of Ramadan.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand
Syria: UN chief condemns latest bloody violence against civilians
31 July 2011 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today voiced his deep concern over reports from Syria that hundreds of protesters have been killed or injured in the city of Hama and other towns across the country during the weekend.
He strongly condemned the use of force against civilians and called on the Government of Syria to immediately halt the violence.
Mr. Ban reiterated that Syrian authorities have an obligation to respect the human rights of the country's people, including their freedom of expression and right to peaceful assembly. He urged the the Government to heed the legitimate aspirations of the population.
“The Secretary-General reminds the Syrian authorities that they are accountable under international human rights law for all acts of violence perpetrated by them against the civilian population,” said a statement issued by his spokesperson.
According to media reports, Syrian security forces have killed dozens of people in Hama. Authorities said soldiers were sent to the city to remove barricades erected by the protesters.
Syria: UN advisers warn that crimes against humanity may have been committed
22 July 2011 – The United Nations special advisers on genocide prevention and the principle of responsibility to protect today voiced alarm at persistent reports of widespread and systematic human rights violations perpetrated by security forces in Syria, saying that crimes against humanity may have been committed.
Francis Deng, the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide and Edward Luck, the Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, said that Syrian security forces have reportedly continued to kill civilians and make arbitrary arrests.
Serious violations of international human rights law are reported to have systematically occurred in the context of the attacks on civilians, they said in a joint statement to the media.
“Based on available information, the Special Advisers consider that the scale and gravity of the violations indicate a serious possibility that crimes against humanity may have been committed and continue to be committed in Syria,” said Mr. Deng and Mr. Luck.
They called for an “independent, thorough, and objective investigation” of the events in Syria, where demonstrations by civilians calling for greater democracy have been brutally suppressed.
The UN advisers echoed calls by the Secretary-General to the Syrian Government to allow humanitarian access to areas affected by the unrest and to facilitate the visit of the UN Human Rights Council-mandated fact-finding mission to the country.
“Without these steps, it will be very difficult to defuse existing tensions and to prevent the escalation of violence,” they said. “All actors involved in the current crisis in Syria are urged to refrain from the use of force, from acts of violence, or from incitement to violence.”
Mr. Deng and Mr. Luck reminded the Syrian Government of its responsibility to protect its population, as all heads of State and government pledged to do in the outcome document of the 2005 UN summit.
“They [heads of State] agreed to prevent genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity, as well as their incitement.
“To that end, the Government should work with civil society to encourage understanding and trust between communities, while taking care not to act in a way that could exacerbate possible differences,” the two advisers said.
As a first step, they urged the Syrian Government to ensure that security forces and civilian personnel under their command “comply fully and consistently” with international human rights obligations when carrying out their duties.
UN Security Council Will Discuss Syria Today, Britain Says
By Thomas Penny
Aug. 1 (Bloomberg) -- The United Nations Security Council will meet to discuss Syria today, Britain said, after at least 150 people were reported killed yesterday as troops sought to reassert control over anti-government protesters.
The council will meet in New York, a spokeswoman for the U.K. Foreign Office in London said by telephone, declining to be identified in line with government practice. Foreign Secretary William Hague said today securing a resolution condemning the violence will be “difficult work.” China and Russia have been blocking a U.S. and European-backed draft in the 15-member body since late May.
“I would like to see a United Nations Security Council resolution to condemn this violence, to call for the release of political prisoners and to call for legitimate grievances to be responded to,” Hague told BBC Radio 4’s “Today” program. “We want to see stronger international pressure all round.”
Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad shelled the city of Hama in one of the deadliest bouts of violence since an uprising against the regime began more than four months ago. At least 113 people were killed, Al Jazeera television said, citing the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria.
UN-sanctioned military action against Syria is unlikely and the international community will need to work with the limited tools it has available to influence the regime’s actions, Hague said.
“There is no prospect of a legal, morally sanctioned military intervention; therefore we have to concentrate on other ways of influencing the Assad regime and trying to help the situation in Syria,” Hague told the BBC. “It is a very frustrating situation. The levers that we have in this situation are relatively limited but we should be frank in admitting that and then working with the ones that we have.”
French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet said last month that western nations must aim to persuade the Chinese and Russian governments to drop their opposition to a resolution against Syria.
“We must convince China and Russia that blocking it is indecent,” Longuet said July 13. “It is indecent because Al- Assad has mobilized enormous resources to neutralize his opposition, and countries that are moving forward like Russia or like China, which claim to belong to the community of nations, must accept common rules: A government does not respond to the opposition using cannon fire.”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is “deeply concerned” by the reports of killings, his office said in a statement yesterday. The U.S., France, Turkey and the U.K. joined Ban in condemning the violence.
The army took action the day before the start of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting and prayer. Activists, analysts and refugees have said they expect the uprising to intensify during the month. More than 1,950 protesters have been killed since the demonstrations began in mid-March, according to Mahmoud Merhi, head of the Damascus-based Arab Organization for Human Rights, and Ammar Qurabi of the National Organization for Human Rights.
The European Union will announce further sanctions against the Syrian regime later this week, Hague said.
--With assistance from Massoud A. Derhally in Beirut. Editors: Eddie Buckle, Fergal O’Brien
|Last Updated ( Monday, 01 August 2011 )|
|< Prev||Next >|
|The Daily Star >> News >> Local News|
|The Daily Star >> News >> Politics|