UN condemns Syria massacre
The UN Security Council on Sunday condemned "in the strongest terms possible" the Syrian government's massacre of Hula in which 108 people were killed. Russia has in turn expressed earlier in the day doubt about the responsibility of Damascus for this massacre.
The 15 Council members, including Russia, condemned the attacks "involving a series of bombardments by government tanks and artillery against a residential area", in a joint statement which called on President Bashar Assad to withdraw heavy weapons from all Syrian cities.
The Hula massacre (central Syria), occurred on late Friday night, has provoked an international outcry, which has not prevented Moscow to defend the Syrian regime. Russia, speaking through its Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Igor Pankin, has questioned the responsibility of the Syrian authorities. "We must establish whether it is the Syrian authorities" who are responsible, he told reporters. He said that "the majority" of the victims killed in Hula were stabbed or "executed at close range", contradicting earlier reports of gunfire.
For his part, General Mood, chief of UN observers in Syria, said the victims were hit by "shrapnel" or killed by "point blank", diplomats conveyed.
Meanwhile, the Syrian regime, through the Foreign Ministry spokesman, Jihad Makdissi, denied " completely any governmental responsibility for this terrorist massacre that targeted civilians".
Damascus has announced the creation of a joint inquiry of the army and justice ministry into the violence, the worst since the entry into force of the April 12 cease-fire under the plan of International envoy Kofi Annan. The commission will publish its findings within three days.
On Sunday, 33 people, including 24 civilians were killed in violence across the country, according to Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR).