Senior Syrian officers killed as General Mood slams international community
Three senior Syrian officers, including a general, were assassinated Wednesday by gunmen in different parts of the country where nearly 100 people died in the violence, said Thursday the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR). A brigadier general was assassinated on the road linking the capital Damascus to Soueida, a Druze region in the south and a colonel was killed in the province of Hama (center). The third officer, a commander, was killed on the road to Aleppo (north).
"Each of them was driving when they were fired upon by armed men," said the president of the SOHR Rami Abdel Rahman. On Wednesday, at least 99 people, mostly civilians, were killed in the on going violence. The dead include two generals who were killed in the fighting.
Meanwhile, the head of UN observers in Syria, General Robert Mood, criticized in an unusual tone Wednesday the international community which is speechifying in "fine hotels" without addressing the stalemate in Syrian conflict.
In another attempt to resolve the crisis, Western and Arab countries and Syrian opponents meet in Paris on Friday to try to promote the departure of President Bashar al-Assad, despite the opposition of Russia, which is boycotting the third meeting of the Friends of the Syrian People. France and Britain have urged Moscow to stop supporting the "murderous regime" of President Bashar al-Assad, saying he was "doomed".
On Friday, the Paris conference will also "encourage" the Syrian opposition to unite and to "increase pressure on the Syrian regime to implement the Geneva Plan" and a cease-fire never respected, according to a Western diplomatic source.
Russia, an ally of the Syrian regime, has once again denied any talks with Washington on the future of Bashar al-Assad, following media reports that the U.S. would try to convince the Kremlin to give a political asylum to Assad.
Expressing disappointment over the impasse in the Syrian case, General Mood, head of an observer mission currently suspended due to the growing violence, slammed meetings supposed to find a way to almost 16 months of violence.
"There are too many discussions in nice hotels in pleasant meetings, while there is too little movement forward to stop the violence," he told reporters in Damascus. He acknowledged the difficulty of the talks, saying the meeting on 30 June in Geneva calling for a transitional government was "the best possible result for a peaceful end to the Syrian people."