As the city of Hama was rocketed by explosions fourth straight day, the 15-member United Nations Security Council has issued a statement condemning “widespread violations of human rights and the use of force against civilians by the Syrian authorities.” Al Jazeera notes that the Security Council has been struggling since Monday to respond to the latest round of violence in Syria. While European nations and the US have sought a tough condemnation about the crackdown on protesters by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, other member nations including Russia and China have blocked such action on the grounds that it could lead to a military intervention like that in Libya.
UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon said that Assad has “lost all sense of humanity.” European nations had called for an investigation into the crackdown. While this was left out of the resulting “council statement” (not a resolution), the statement does contain phrasing calling “on all sides to refrain from violence, including violence against the state” and modifications insisted on by Russia. Lebanon, Syria’s neighbor, has disassociated itself from the statement.
Reporting from Beirut, Al Jazeera‘s Rula Amin said that the UN statement is “one step forward” for the Syrian people who “don’t want military intervention. They want more support – not just from European countries – but from neighbouring Arab countries and Turkey.”
This video shows an evening demonstration in Damascus, the capital of Syria, that started from the Mosque of Hassan Abu Rummana, close to Umayyad Square.
On Wednesday, the White House also hardened its stance against Assad with spokesman Jay Carney saying “We do not want to see him remain in Syria for stability’s sake and, rather, we view him as the cause of instability in Syria.”
With 100 tanks now occupying Hama, including the main central Assi Square — the site of mass anti-Assad rallies in previous weeks — residents have been trying to flee, only to be met with live fire from security forces and army troops if they do not respond to orders to return inside.
Television and internet lines have been cut and there are reports that buildings and homes have been destroyed in the shelling. According to the BBC, other reports describe piles of bodies in the city streets. The video below is said to show Hama under fire.
At least 140 people have been killed in Hama since Sunday. The Syrian government’s brutal suppression of Hama for the past few days chillingly recalls the killing of at least 10,000 in 1982, when Assad’s father, then-President Hafez Assad, put down an Islamist uprising. The crackdown is not limited to Hama: 200 tanks have also seen near the eastern town of Deir al-Zour and a 9-year-old child, Bara’a Mahmod Qabro, was reportedly killed in the coastal city of Latakia on Tuesday. There have been other reports of tanks in the city of Homs.
The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) says that 1,629 civilians and 374 members of the security forces have been killed since protests began in the southern city of Daraa.
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