UN Condemns Violence Feb09

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UN Condemns Violence

Human Rights – The United Nations is strongly condemning the escalation of brutal and violent attacks on civilians as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad steps up his campaign to annihilate his opposition. The past week alone has seen the death of hundreds of men, women, and children as the bombings inside civilian neighborhoods become more and more indiscriminate.

Thursday’s dawn has seen more brutality as the the regime took aim at Baba Amro Khalidiya and other areas with tanks and heavy artillery as it attempts to remove the opposition from the city. Reports indicate that more than 200 rockets rained down on the area in less than three hours.

“I fear that the appalling brutality we are witnessing in Homs, with heavy weapons firing into civilian neighbourhoods, is a grim harbinger of things to come,” U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told reporters after briefing the Security Council.

Officials have estimated that the death toll in Syria since last March is over 5,000, and in a statement, the Syrian Human Rights Organization (Sawasiah) said that this week alone has seen the death of “at least 300 civilians and wounded 1,000″ not including Thursday’s deaths.

“Such violence is unacceptable before humanity…We have heard too many broken promises even within the past 24 hours,” said Ban as he insisted that it was “more urgent than ever to find common ground.

Despite warnings from Russia and China not to interfere in the massacres taking place in Syria, many countries are no longer satisfied with sitting idly by and watching the escalating violence.

The U.S. is concerned about the fate of the civilians in Syria and is planning to meet with allies to discuss ways to “halt the violence and provide humanitarian aid to civilians under attack;” and Turkey, who once considered Assad an ally, wants to “host an international meeting to agree ways to end the killing and provide aid.” However, due to the “warnings” of Russia and China, any move to bring international aid to civilians could “open a dangerous and complicated new chapter in the crisis.”

According to Vladimir Putin, Russia’s Prime Minister and likely to be the new president, the answer to the escalating violence is to “Help them, advise them, limit, for instance, their ability to use weapons but not interfere under any circumstances.”

And outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev indicated that the “search for a solution should continue but that foreign interference was not an option.”

“For too many months we have watched this crisis deepen. We have seen escalating violence, brutal crackdowns and tremendous suffering by the Syrian people. I deeply regret that the security council has been unable to speak with one clear voice to end the bloodshed,” said Ban.

“The failure to do so is disastrous for the people of Syria. It has encouraged the Syrian government to step up its war on its own people. Thousands have been killed in cold blood, shredding President [Bashar Al-]Assad’s claims to speak for the Syrian people,” he added.

Read more here, here, and here.