Hillary Clinton: Outraged at “credible” reports of new Syria massacre

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday she was outraged at “credible” reports of mass killings in the Syrian village of Tramseh, and called for an immediate ceasefire so UN monitors could go in.

“I was deeply saddened and outraged to learn of reports of yet another massacre committed by the Syrian regime that has claimed the lives of over 200 men, women, and children in the village of Traymseh,” Clinton said in a statement Friday.

“Credible reports indicate that this unconscionable act was carried out by artillery, tanks, and helicopters – indisputable evidence that the regime deliberately murdered innocent civilians,” Clinton’s statement continued, calling for Bashar al-Assad to leave power so “a political transition begins.”

Maj. Gen. Robert Mood, the head of the UN monitoring mission in Syria, confirmed Friday that heavy weaponry and assault helicopters were used in a sustained attack on the village, near Hama, giving credence to opposition activists’ claims that the village was the target of a government assault. Anti-regime activists have said as many as 200 people were killed, but those figures could not be confirmed.

Amateur video released Friday showed the bodies of 17 people.

“We call for an immediate ceasefire in and around Hama to allow the UN observer mission to enter Traymseh,” Clinton said.  “Those who committed these atrocities will be identified and held accountable.”

The US, UK and France are circulating a UK-drafted UN Security Council resolution that would impose new penalties if Syrian forces don’t pull back from attacks on population centers within 10 days. But Russia said Thursday it would reject the measure because it invokes Chapter 7, which it fears it could be used to authorize another Libya-style international military intervention.

Clinton had harsh words Friday for the stalling at the UN, but did not directly call out Russia.

“History will judge this Council,” she said. “Its members must ask themselves whether continuing to allow the Assad regime to commit unspeakable violence against its own people is the legacy they want to leave.”

(U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Phnom Penh July 13, 2012. REUTERS/Samrang Pring.)