Fears on new massacre in Syria coastal region

Published June 12th, 2012 - 06:56 GMT

The United States expressed concern late Monday that the regime of Bashar al-Assad is preparing a new massacre in Syria, where violence and fighting left yesterday 106 dead, including 77 civilians. The SNC (Syrian National Council), representing the main opposition coalition, for its part, accused the Syrian regime of escalating the use of terror and displacement on a sectarian basis, taking advantage of the "weak "and" hesitant" international community.

In a statement released Monday, the SNC called on the Security Council and especially China and Russia to "assume their responsibilities and respond to crimes committed against civilians in Syria."

On his part, the envoy of the UN and Arab League Kofi Annan expressed "serious concerns", following the death of scores of people in the past two days. Kofi Annan "is particularly concerned about the recent bombings in Homs as well as reports of the use of mortars, tanks and helicopters in the town of Haffé in the coastal Latakia province", said his spokesman Ahmad Fawzi in a statement. "There are indications that large numbers of civilians are trapped in these cities."

Soon after, the spokesman for the State Department Victoria Nuland said that "the United States join Kofi Annan to express concern over information coming from Syria over the preparation by the regime to carry out another massacre in Haffé. "We want to remind the Syrian officers one of the lessons learned in Bosnia: the international community can find out which units are responsible for crimes against humanity and will hold you accountable for your actions," she added. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon demanded on Monday that the UN has access to Haffé and was concerned about what he calls a "dangerous intensification" of the conflict in Syria. According to activists, Haffé was bombarded for six days by regime forces. The situation is "terrible and army tanks are at the gates of the city," said Sima Nassar, an activist. "There is only one doctor who treated the wounded in the city," she said. The town was deserted by the majority of its 30,000 inhabitants. "There is still some rebels and armed civilians who help defend the city, " she conveyed.

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