With 90 civilians killed near Homs in Syria, the top United Nations officials today expressed strong condemnation of brutal killings of innocent civilians in central Syria.
Reports say the civilian casualties include 32 children. Hundreds more are reportedly wounded.
The violence took place in and around the town of Houla, near Homs, after an anti-government protest.
The UN officials stressed that those responsible must be held accountable.
UN Photo/Neeraj Singh
Observers from the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) confirmed the killing after having viewed the bodies in the village of Houla.
The UNSMIS also confirmed that artillery and tank shells were fired at a residential neighbourhood, killing almost hundreds of civilians.
A UN statement issued on by on behalf of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moo n and the Joint Special Envoy of the UN and the League of Arab States for Syria, Kofi Annan says the appalling and brutal crime involving indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force is a flagrant violation of international law and of the commitments of the Syrian Government to cease the use of heavy weapons in population centres and violence in all its forms.
General Robert Mood, the head of UNSMIS, issued a statement in which he said that UN observers went to Houla where they counted more than 32 children under the age of 10 and over 60 adults killed.
“The circumstances that led to these tragic killings are still unclear.” – General Mood
General Mood stressed that the indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force is unacceptable and unforgiveable.
“The killing of innocent children and civilians needs to stop.” – General Mood
All three officials demand that the Syrian Government immediately cease the use of heavy weapons in population centres, and called on all parties to stop violence in all its forms.
Meanwhile, Mr. Annan is contacting the Syrian authorities to convey the expectations of the international community which he will do so when he will visit the war-torn country.
The United States of America today also expressed condemnation in the massacre in the Syrian village of Haoula.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the United Nations observers have confirmed that dozens of men, women, and children were killed and hundreds more wounded in a vicious assault that involved a regime artillery and tank barrage on a residential neighborhood.
She stressed that those who perpetrated this atrocity must be identified and held to account.
And the United States will work with the international community to intensify our pressure on Asad and his cronies, whose rule by murder and fear must come to an end, she added.
“We stand in solidarity with the Syrian people and the peaceful marchers in cities across Syria who have taken to the streets to denounce the massacre in Haoula.”
– Ms. Clinton
The violence in Syria, which began in March 2011 as a protest movement similar to those witnessed across the Middle East and North Africa, has claimed over 9,000 lives, mostly civilians, and displaced tens of thousands.