Over 100 dead in Syria
More than 100 people were killed Saturday in Syria, where the regime seemed to try to end the rebellion before the April 10 deadline set by the UN. "Seventy-four civilians were killed, including 40 in bombings and shootings in the city of Latamna, in the province of Hama," reported the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), adding, 17 soldiers and 16 deserters had also died in different regions.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Friday in New York that the attacks of the regime were "a violation of the UN position." The Security Council unanimously adopted a statement Thursday calling on Damascus to meet the April 10 deadline to stop major military operations. The opposition should do the same no later than 48 hours later.
"The Syrian authorities are entirely responsible for serious violations of human rights. This must stop," said Ban Ki-moon.
The promise of President Assad to cease military operations by Tuesday "cannot be an excuse to continue killing," said Martin Nesirky, spokesman for Ban Ki-moon. "Such actions violate the consensus position of the Security Council", he added.
Moreover, Ban Ki-moon said he was "extremely worried" by the worsening humanitarian crisis in Syria, saying that "recent reports show a growing number of refugees in neighboring countries." During the last 24 hours, nearly 700 Syrians arrived in Turkey, which now hosts 24,000 refugees from Syria, according to a Turkish official. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), donated urgent humanitarian aid worth US$70 million.
In central Damascus, thousands of people gathered to mark the 65th anniversary of the creation of the ruling Baath Party. The protesters waved Syrian and Baath flags, and portraits of President Bashar al-Assad, amid patriotic songs in a festive atmosphere.