Syria 'cleaning up' evidence

2011-08-21 14:38

Beirut - Syrian forces are conducting a clean-up in a Palestinian refugee camp in the city of Latakia to erase evidence of "crimes against humanity" there, a Western diplomat in Europe told the German Press Agency dpa on Sunday.

His comments came the day after a UN humanitarian team arrived in Syria to assess the ongoing crisis there.

"Reports of a clean-up are perfect evidence of what the regime is denying: that there was an attack on the refugee camp, home to thousands of UN registered Palestinian refugees who were forced to flee as they came under fire," said the diplomat, who spoke to dpa on condition of anonymity.

"The Baathist (ruling party) killing machine can wash the blood off the streets, but not off its hands," the diplomat added.

The UN mission arrived in Syria on Saturday amid charges that forces commanded by President Bashar al-Assad have carried out "widespread and systematic" attacks on civilians, which UN Human Rights High Commissioner Navi Pillay said amounted to "violations of human rights".

The Palestinian refugee camp is located in Latakia, a port city which has come under sustained assault, including, according to reports, from gunboats lying offshore.

The UN team is led by Rashid Khalikov, chief of the Geneva bureau of the UN office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs.

Human rights advocates say at least 1 860 civilians and 422 security personnel have been killed in Syria since March when protests calling for al-Assad's ouster began.

It is difficult to verify those reports because authorities have barred entry to most foreign media and international observers.

  • john_jones - 2011-08-21 16:39

    I have a problem with this report. The 'Human Rights' people say that 1 ) This is a series of 'peaceful demonstrations 2 ) They claim that 422 security personnel have been killed . What is it ?. One or the other. If this is a civil war they should say so.

      slg - 2011-08-21 18:23

      Demonstrations started peacefully but Asad attacked the demonstrators, killing, detaining and torturing thousands of them. They are fighting back. It's not a civil war. It's another dictator trying to hold onto power by brutally crushing demands by the majority for the basic human right to vote and live free of oppression. Asad and his family have been in power for 48 years, longer than Gadhafi, longer than Mugabe. They are Sunni's, the minority in Syria, like so-called Whites were under Apartheid. I recommend watching the insert on PBS Newshour of a few days ago about Syria.

      MEopinion - 2011-08-21 19:42

      As someone actually living in Syria and having a permit to work there, I think that I am able to put some facts on the table. Firstly, the majority of Syrians respect the stability that Assad has brought to the country, and in fact until these instigated disturbances started some months ago the country was moving along a good development path. This was evidenced by the bus loads of foreign tourists who were quite happy to visit Syria until about March this year. Now what exists is in fact a low grade civil war. Secondly, the Sunnis are in fact the majority in Syria and Assad is not a Sunni(information for @slg). There are also large groups of various Christian faiths as well as other Muslim sects. These groups were quite prepared to live in peace with one another, as has been the case for hundreds of years. To understand the contagion that is presently infecting the Arab countries one needs to understand the geopolitics of the region and the west's relationship with Israel. Iran is close to having nuclear weapons and when Israel takes preemptive action one of these days it will be in the interest of the west (which can no longer fight a foreign war) for the Arab countries to be weak and divided. It has absolutely nothing to do with human rights, so called dictators etc as your learned commentators have claimed!

      slg - 2011-08-21 23:39

      Yes, correction to what I said: Asad as Alawite, not Sunni. But the Sunnis are by far the majority: 74% of the population. ME, Asad is a brutal dictator. That you think Syria was "moving along a good development path" overlooks the cold brutality of the regime and the fear and oppression the vast majority of Syrians live under. It's like saying South Africa was moving along a good development path under Apartheid. Your whole thesis about contagion etc. it's just delusion, a little story. The people of the Middle East have had enough. They're ring up and overthrowing brutal dictatorial rule. This should become clearer to you as events continue to unfold.

      slg - 2011-08-22 05:18

      Your whole thesis about contagion etc. is just delusion, a little story. The people of the Middle East have had enough. They're rising up and overthrowing brutal dictatorial rule.

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