China calls for ceasefire as 37 killed

Published March 4th, 2012 - 07:56 GMT

China has urged all parties in Syria to stop "unconditionally" the violence and welcomed any humanitarian intervention, while the Red Cross was still trying to get into Homs.

A senior Chinese Foreign Ministry official has urged the Syrian government and other relevant parties to stop immediately, completely and unconditionally all acts of violence, particularly violence against innocent civilians," reported the official Chinese news agency.

China, however, also reiterated that it refuses any foreign interference under "humanitarian" pretexts.

Violence in the country left at least 37 dead Saturday, including 14 members of government forces in clashes with deserters near Deraa (south), according to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights.

Meanwhile, the body of American journalist Marie Colvin and French photographer Rémi Ochlick, killed Feb. 22 during a bombing of Baba Amr, Homs, left Saturday night Damascus to Paris, France's ambassador to Damascus Eric Chevallier told the AFP.

In a first official reaction to events in Baba Amr, the government Thawra daily said Saturday: "The relevant departments have restored security and safety in the district of Baba Amr".

On his part, the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that the Syrian authorities were committing "a crime" by prohibiting the entry of humanitarian aid and urged the international community to respond to "atrocities" made by the regime. 

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