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.” Continue reading

UN: Heavy weaponry used in assault on Syrian village, activists report mass killing


The head of the UN monitoring mission in Syria confirmed Friday that its observers heard over 100 explosions from heavy weaponry and attack helicopters used in an assault on the Syrian village of Tremseh. Opposition activists say scores of people have been killed in a government assault on the village, near Hama, since Thursday.

Maj. Gen. Robert Mood “told reporters in Damascus that a group of observers about five kilometers (three miles) away during the violence confirmed the use of heavy weaponry and attack helicopters,” the Associated Press reported. “He said his team was ready to investigate if a cease-fire is reached.”

The 300-member UN monitoring team has been largely unable to travel given the growing chaos on the ground.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the latest mass killing in Syria, saying opposition reports  of as many as 200 people killed were credible.

“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.”

Opposition activists said Friday Syrian government forces shelled the farming village, near Hama, “before armed thugs moved in, leaving scores of people dead in what rebels claim could be one of the worst single days of bloodshed in the uprising against Bashar Assad’s regime,” the AP report. “Amatuer videos showed the bodies of 17 people said to have been killed.”

A UK-US-French backed draft UN Security Council resolution currently being circulated calls for new sanctions to be imposed if Syrian forces do not stop their assault on Syrian population centers  in 10 days time. Continue reading

UN observer mission in Syria suspends activities, citing “significant risks”

The head of the UN observer mission in Syria, Gen. Robert Mood, announced Saturday that it was temporarily suspending operations and patrols due to escalating violence on the ground that poses “significant risks” to his 300-member team.

The suspension will be reviewed on a daily basis.

“There has been an intensification of armed violence across Syria over the past 10 days,” Mood said in a statement Saturday. “This escalation is limiting our ability to observe, verify, report as well as assist in local dialogue and stability projects – basically impeding our ability to carry out our mandate.”

“The lack of willingness by the Parties to seek a peaceful transition, and the push towards advancing military positions is increasing the losses on both sides: innocent civilians, men women and children are being killed every day,” he said. “It is also posing significant risks to our observers.”

“In this high risk situation, UNSMIS is suspending its activities,” he said. “UN observers will not be conducting patrols and will stay in their locations until further notice. Engagement with the Parties will be restricted.” Continue reading