Syria opposition demands ‘urgent’ military intervention after massacre

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ISTANBUL: The opposition Syrian National Council called on Monday for an “urgent” foreign military intervention in Syria after reports that 47 women and children were killed in a Homs “massacre.”

“We request urgent Arab and international military intervention,” top SNC leader Georges Sabra told a news conference in Istanbul.

Reading from a prepared text, he also called for the creation of a “no-fly zone” over all of Syria and “strikes” against the Syrian armed forces.

He urged “the friends of the Syrian people to take a steadfast position” on the bloodshed and said the regime responded to a weekend mission by international peace envoy Kofi Annan “with violence and killings.”

SNC chief Burhan Ghalioun said the “international community can no longer make hollow promises and the Arab League cannot go on publishing press releases if they want to end the deadly violence.

“It is time for the international community to take serious and concrete measures to end the violence,” said Ghalioun.

The bodies of 47 women and children, some with their throats slit, were found in Homs after a “massacre” that sent families fleeing the flashpoint central city, activists and the opposition said earlier on Monday.

UN human rights investigator Paulo Pinheiro said Syrian civilians face a “desperate situation.”

“The exodus continues to Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. The desperate situation of civilians needs to be addressed as a matter of utmost urgency,” the Brazilian commissioner told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday.

“The intensification of armed confrontations has widened the trail of suffering,” said Pinheiro, head of the Council’s Commission of Inquiry, which was not allowed to enter Syria.

“The human rights and humanitarian situation becomes bleaker day after day in neighborhoods in Homs, Idlib, Hama, rural Damascus and Dar’a,” he said, decrying a month of “unrelenting shelling” in Homs’ Baba Amr district.

“Those who fled the area reported summary executions and mass arbitrary arrest campaigns,” Pinheiro said, adding that more than 500 children have been killed since the start of Syria’s unrest a year ago.

Commissioned last August by the Human Rights Council, the UN panel concluded in a first report published in November that Syrian security forces committed crimes against humanity during the brutal repression of demonstrators.


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