93 dead as Putin, Obama agree on "many points" regarding Syria

Published June 19th, 2012 - 06:20 GMT
Putin and Obama
Putin and Obama

Despite their divisions on Syria, Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin launched a joint appeal Monday on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico. "Stop the bloodshed in Syria, we call for an immediate halt to violence," they said.

Vladimir Putin's strong support to the Syrian regime, and Barack Obama, whose country called for the departure of Bashar al-Assad also said they were "united in the idea that the Syrian people should be able to choose their future in an independent and democratic atmosphere" . Vladimir Putin has declared he found "numerous points of agreement" with Barack Obama on how to settle the Syrian crisis.

Washington also hopes that Russia will eventually facilitate a solution to the crisis in Syria, despite its refusal to support resolutions at the UN Security Council, condemning the regime for its repression of the revolt.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also accused Moscow last week of delivering gunship helicopters to President Assad's forces. Russia then replied that it had only repaired them in accordance to contracts signed before the crisis.

Meanwhile, General Robert Mood, Chief of the UN mission in Syria, should report to the Security Council on Tuesday on his decision, issued Saturday, to suspend the activities of this mission because of the "escalating violence" on the ground. In New York, the British ambassador to the UN Mark Lyall Grant said that "many members of the (Security) Council, including us," would "ask him what is the future of this mission and therefore the Annan plan. " "We are very concerned about the increased violence and believe that the Syrian regime bears responsibility," Grant insisted.

In a related development, at the opening of the 20th Session of the UN Council of Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay said that "the Government of Syria should immediately stop the use of heavy weapons and shelling of populated areas. " "Such actions are tantamount to crimes against humanity and other possible war crimes," she said.

She urged the international community to "overcome divisions (...) to end the violence" and to ensure that the perpetrators, "including those who attacked the UN observers in Syria " will be held accountable.

On the ground, 93 people died in Syria, Monday, including 63 civilians, 28 rebels and three soldiers, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR). The SOHR also reported about "1,000 besieged families" in Homs, in central regions and "intense bombardment" in Douma, 13 kilometers northeast of Damascus.

An activist opposed to the regime calling himself Mahmoud Doumani told AFP that "the army had stepped up in recent days its operations Douma," adding that families who could not flee the city were hiding.

Al-Watan daily, which is close to the government, reported "the death of hundreds of terrorists in the past three weeks at the gates of Damascus." In the south, Deraa, the cradle of the revolt, was besieged and the nearby Tafas town was shelled by the army, said the Free Syrian Army (FSA). "The regular army was able to enter the city by the southern entrance, where it launched a series of raids, but have not penetrated the entire city," said the spokesman of FSA Louay Rashdan. "Fighters of the FSA are still resisting,." he added.

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