Mines laid on Syria borders as Annan waits Assad response
Syrian government forces have laid mines in areas near the borders of Lebanon and Turkey, where many Syrians fleeing the conflict took refuge, said the organization Human Rights Watch on Tuesday. HRW said this information is based on many testimonies by Syrian refugees in Turkey and Lebanon.
"Making use of landmines is an unscrupulous behavior," said Steve Goose, HRW deputy director in charge of weapons issues. "There is absolutely no justification for the use of such weapons by any country, whatsoever, under any circumstances for any purpose," he added.
Opponents of the regime have reportedly smuggled food, medicine and weapons from Lebanon and Turkey. They also evacuate to these two countries wounded people.
Meanwhile, the envoy of the UN and Arab League, Kofi Annan, said Tuesday in Ankara that he expected a reply from the Syrian regime to his mediation proposals.
"I expect a response from the Syrian authorities today because I have submitted to them specific proposals," he told reporters after a meeting in the Turkish capital with the Syrian National Council (SNC), the main opposition body to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
Mr. Annan announced Sunday that he presented to the Syrian president in Damascus a series of concrete proposals to resolve the crisis in Syria and had said that his talks in Damascus were centered on the need for an immediate cessation of violence and killings and to allow access to humanitarian organizations.
"After obtaining their response, we will know how to react," said the UN envoy in Ankara. "The Syrian people deserve better," he added.
The President of SNC, Burhan Ghalioun, told reporters that several countries have expressed their desire to arm the insurgents but that SNC favored a political and diplomatic settlement to the crisis. But, he continued, "If this does not happen, we will accept this offer of assistance in arms."