Fresh Syria Clashes Defy UN Peace Call
VOA News: Fresh clashes broke out across Syria on Thursday, a day after the United Nations Security Council called for the government and opponents to enact a peace plan proposed by a U.N. envoy.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said a Security Council statement has sent a “clear” message to the Syrian government to stop its crackdown on dissent and implement the plan to end the bloody conflict with the opposition.
Speaking Thursday in Malaysia, Ban said the Security Council’s message is “unmistakable.”
“All the violence must stop. And, there should be a political negotiation, inclusive political negotiation for the resolution of this issue, in a way which can meet the aspiration of the Syrian people and also humanitarian access should be established,” said Ban.
The Security Council approved the so-called “presidential statement” Wednesday threatening Syria with unspecified “further steps” if international envoy Kofi Annan’s six-point peace proposal is rejected.The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says there was government shelling and clashes with rebels in Hama on Thursday, and a deadly ambush by opposition forces in the southern province, Daraa. Activists also reported government troops killing three people in the Homs’ district town of Qusair.
Human Rights Watch issued a statement Thursday saying Syrian security forces are committing “serious abuses” in Qusair, including shelling of residential areas and attacking fleeing residents. The group also described “dire” humanitarian conditions in the city.The United Nations says at least 8,000 people have been killed in the Assad government’s violent crackdown on the revolt, which began with peaceful protests and became increasingly militarized as army defectors attacked pro-Assad troops who assaulted civilians.