Syrian forces fire on funerals

2011-12-10 22:35

Beirut - Syrian forces fired on funeral processions and clashed with army defectors Saturday, killing at least 12 people as France called on the international community to "save the Syrian people".

The 9-month-old uprising against Syria's authoritarian President Bashar Assad has grown increasingly violent in recent months as once-peaceful protesters take up arms and rebel soldiers fight back against the army.

Some of the worst bloodshed has been in Homs, the central city that has emerged as the epicentre of the revolt, and there are concerns that a renewed assault could be imminent.

In a statement, the French Foreign Ministry said that France was "deeply concerned" and warned Syrian authorities that they will be held responsible for any action against the population.

"The entire international community must mobilise to save the Syrian people," the statement said.

Despite the relentless bloodshed, Assad has refused to buckle to the pressure to step down and has shown no signs of easing his crackdown. The United Nations estimates more than 4 000 people have been killed in the military assault on dissent since March.

Syria has banned most foreign journalists and prevented local reporters from moving freely. Accounts from activists and witnesses, along with amateur videos posted online, provide key channels of information.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Co-ordinating Committees collected the death toll and other details of Saturday's bloodshed using a network of sources on the ground.

Fired on funeral processions

The groups said security forces fired on several funeral processions and that there were fierce clashes between soldiers and army defectors. Many of the dead were in Homs.

International military intervention, such as the Nato action in Libya that helped topple long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi, is all but out of the question in Syria, in part because of fears that the move could spread chaos across the Middle East.

But the international community has pressured Assad in other ways, primarily through sanctions. The Arab League has imposed economic sanctions and travel bans to try to end the violence, adding to measures already taken by the US, European Union, Turkey and others.

An Arab League official said the bloc would meet toward the end of the coming week in Cairo to discuss the situation in Syria and an Arab-brokered plan calling for sending an observer mission into the country.

Syria has agreed to the plan in principle but with several major conditions, including the annulment of sanctions against Damascus.

  • Selwyn - 2011-12-11 07:43

    Hussein down, Gaddafi down, Ossama Bin Laden down now take Bashar Assad down as well as any dictator who does not allow freedom in their respective country which also includes Iran and of course Zimbabwe!!! Seems to most Muslim countries want world wide destruction if their religion is not accepted!!!

      Michael - 2011-12-11 09:24

      Rubbish in a number of aspects Selwyn. 1. Hussein down under the pretext of weapons of mass destruction=never found. Plus about 1 million of his countrymen ,women and children. 2. Gaddafi= Western involvement to protect their oil interests, nothing to do with human rights and the mess is still continuing there. Osama Bin Laden: Dictator of which country? Comment about Muslim religion: Typical prejudiced nonsense. I am sure you would not like such generalizations about your own religion, nor would they be deserved.

      Garth - 2011-12-11 10:10

      Michael, you are really quite ignorant for someone who wishes to appear liberal. Bin laden was exterminated because he was a very successful purveyor of islamic terrorism, to all countries that HE deemed to be under the control of Satan. Yes the pretext for invading Iraq was incorrect and yes they are probably worse off now than before, but they are democracised and hey, they've got oil. Gaddafi's demise came at the hands of his own people, with a little bit of help from his old enemies. And Selwyn mentioned muslim countries as seeking world wide destruction, not the muslim religion. I do not support all of his sentiments, but at least understand what he has written. Your head is so filled with you own unimportant thoughts that you fail to understand the opinions of others.

      Michael - 2011-12-11 11:52

      Glad you understand it Garth. "if their religion is not accepted" means just that and cannot mean any different. As Bin Laden was not a political figure in any country, and was entirely driven by religious zeal, he does not fit in this category. Thanks for the personal statements ,it is unfortunately the resort of many of the correspondents of this website to move from the issues and to descend into personalizing remarks. It seems my "ignorance" is catchy.

      John - 2011-12-26 23:24

      Europe is not listening. Long words of socialism are clogging up brain cells, no spark. Has Europe listed Syrian government assets and frozen them? No. Has Europe listed of Syrian officials, families and connections, and expelled them? No. Has Europe listed the belongings of those officials, families and connections, and confiscated them? No. Has Europe called for the removal of Turkey from Cyprus? No. Has Europe called for the removal of Turkey from Constantinople? No. Has Europe made null the benefits of extra wives and extra wives' children? No. Has Europe charged extra wives and extra wives's children for their extra social benefits costs? No. Europe is not listening.

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