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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Syrian village attack targeted rebels and mainly of army defectors--UN

A variety of weapons were used in an attack on the Syrian village of Treimsa, where more than 150 people were killed this week, with the homes of rebels and activists bearing the brunt, the U.N. mission said on Saturday.

“A wide range of weapons were used, including artillery, mortars and small arms,” the U.N. spokeswoman, Sausan Ghosheh, said in a statement.

“The attack on Treimsa appeared targeted at specific groups and houses, mainly of army defectors and activists. There were pools of blood and blood spatters in rooms of several homes together with bullet cases.”

Ghosheh, spokeswoman for the U.N. Supervision Mission in Syria, said a team of observers had visited the village in central Syria on Saturday.

“On the basis of this preliminary mission, UNSMIS can confirm that an attack, using a variety of weapons, took place in Treimsa on July 12,” she said.

“The U.N. team also observed a burned school and damaged houses with signs of internal burning in five of them.”

She added that the number of casualties was still unclear.

The Treimsa killings have triggered a global outcry against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, with U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon calling for urgent action to stop the bloodshed.

The head of Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel Rahman, told AFP it “might be the biggest massacre committed in Syria since the start of the revolution” against Assad in March 2011.

If confirmed, the 150-person toll would exceed that of a massacre at Houla on May 25, when a pro-Assad militia and government forces were accused of killing at least 108 people.

A spokesman for Syria’s military said the army had killed “many terrorists” in Treimsa, but no civilians, in a “special operation... targeting armed terrorist groups and their leadership hide-outs.”

Ghosheh said the observers planned to return to Treimsa on Sunday for further investigations.

“UNSMIS is deeply concerned about the escalating level of violence in Syria and calls on the government to cease the use of heavy weapons on population centers and on the parties to put down their weapons and choose the path of non-violence for the welfare of the Syrian people who have suffered enough,” she said.

Ban appeals to china

Meanwhile, U.N. leader Ban Ki-moon on Saturday appealed to China’s foreign minister to use his “influence” to help bring pressure on Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad to end conflict, a U.N. spokesman said.

China is a key player in a U.N. Security Council dispute over sanctions against the Syrian leader. It has backed Russia in rejecting western demands for international action to press Assad.

Ban and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi discussed Syria in telephone talks ahead of the U.N. secretary general’s visit to China on Monday, said U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky.

The U.N. leader “called on China to use its influence to ensure the full and immediate implementation” of the peace plan of U.N-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan and an international communiqué which China agreed on June 30 calling for a political transition in Syria, said the spokesman.

They discussed “the imperative need for the violence to stop at once” and the massacre in the Triemsa.

Ban highlighted that the fighting involved “the use of heavy weapons in violation of the Syrian government’s obligations” under Security Council resolutions on Syria passed in April.

The Security Council has to pass a resolution by July 20 to renew the mandate of UNSMIS. Britain, the United States, France, Germany and Portugal want sanctions added to the resolution if Assad does not pull back his heavy weapons in line with Annan’s peace plan.

Russia, Assad’s key ally, rejects the threat of sanctions.

Russia and China have twice used their powers as permanent members of the Security Council to veto resolutions which just hinted at sanctions.
Based on AFP and ALARABIYA reports

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