Assad tells Annan terrorism must stop
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told the international mediator Kofi Annan that the success of his peace plan depended on the "end of terrorism", reported Tuesday the Syrian state television. "The plan's success depends on the end of terrorism, its supporters and halt of arms smuggling," said Assad during a meeting in Damascus, according to the TV channel.
"The armed terrorist groups clearly have recently intensified their operations in different parts of Syria, killed and abducted civilians," said the Syrian president.
Damascus, which considers the rebels as terrorists, accused the armed gangs of being behind the recent massacre in Hula (centeral Syria), that left over 100 people dead, including scores of children.
"Assad stressed the need for countries that finance and arm the terrorist groups to comply with the Annan plan," according to the television.
The Syrian government accuses countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who are highly critical of Damascus, of arming the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA).
Meanwhile, the initial results of a UN investigation found that the majority of Hula victims were executed Friday, said a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville , on Tuesday. It is believed that fewer than 20 of the 108 deaths can be attributed to artillery and tanks. Most of the victims were executed in two separate incidents."
The residents of the city said that pro-regime militia known as "Shabiha" is behind these killings.
Citing security reasons, Rupert Colville refused to reveal who are the UN investigators handling the case. He also stressed that the High Commissioner hoped that "there will be a detailed report" about the massacre of Hula.
According to the preliminary investigation, 32 of the 49 children killed were under 10 years, said Rupert Colville, who noted that the total number of victims could rise.
"What is very clear is that this was an absolutely dreadful event which took place in Hula, and at least a substantial part (...) were executions of civilians, including women and children , " stated Colville in Geneva. "At this point, it seems that entire families were killed in their homes."