Syria: Violence escalates ahead of UN missions
(DP-News - agencies)
Syria- Syria was hit by a third lethal car bombing of the weekend on Sunday as UN teams readied for a government-led humanitarian mission and to try to set up a monitoring operation to end a year of bloodshed.
On Saturday, twin car bombings killed 27 people and wounded 140 others in the heart of Syria's capital, mostly civilians, the interior ministry said, blaming "terrorists" for the attacks near police and air force headquarters.
"Satruday's explosions were carried out by terrorists supported by foreign powers which finance and arm them," charged Al-Baath newspaper, mouthpiece of President Bashar al-Assad's ruling party of the same name.
"The two attacks... aim to disrupt Annan's mission and to foil international efforts to find a political solution to the crisis," it said, referring to UN-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan.
A rally and prayers were being held on Sunday at the site of the biggest explosion, in the Al-Qasaa district that is home to many members of Syria's Christian minority.
State television, which said victims were being buried Sunday, has repeatedly broadcast how the Al-Qasaa blast had totally gutted the facade of a multi-storey building, wrecked family homes and left behind blood-splattered pavements.
Ath-Thawra, another official daily, pointed the finger at Qatar and Saudi Arabia which have called for rebels fighting the Assad regime to be armed.
"The terrorism of Hamad and Saud is not a first. We know their blood-stained hatred, born of jealousy... We have heard their call, and their incitement," it said, referring to the Saudi and Qatari ruling families.
Also in the press on Sunday, a daily close to the regime warned of an even tougher response to anti-regime demonstrations.
In the wake of the Damascus bombings, "this is no longer the time for philosophising, for struggle, for Facebook... and especially not for protests which only go to serve the enemies of Syria," Al-Watan said.
Opposition activists accused the regime, as in past lethal bombings in the capital and the northern city of Aleppo, of having stage-managed the attacks.
Technical experts from the United Nations and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, meanwhile, were to take part in a mission to assess the humanitarian impact of the crackdown on anti-regime protests since March 2011.
UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos, who held talks in Damascus this month, said they would at the weekend join the assessment mission to Daraa, Homs, Hama, Tartus, Latakia, Aleppo, Deir Ezzor and rural zones around Damascus.
The United Nations estimates more than 30,000 Syrians have fled to neighbouring states and another 200,000 have been displaced within the country by the past 12 months of deadly violence.
Activists, meanwhile, said security forces mounted operations Sunday in Aleppo, northwestern Idlib, the east's Deir Ezzor region and Daraa in the south, birthplace of the anti-Assad revolt.
Special envoy Kofi Annan warned Friday the Syria conflict can have a "serious impact" regionally if not handled properly, saying he will return to Damascus if an advance team makes progress on implementing his proposals to end the bloodshed.
The former U.N. secretary-general told reporters after briefing the Security Council in New York by videoconference that he appealed for unity from its deeply divided members in order to send a strong signal of support to the Syrian government and opposition for his difficult and complex mission.
Russia and China have vetoed two U.S. and European-backed council resolutions that would have condemned President Bashar Assad's bloody crackdown, which has left more than 8,000 people dead, saying they were unbalanced and demanded that only the government stop attacks, not the opposition. Moscow, a longtime Syrian ally, has also accused Western powers of fueling the conflict by backing the rebels.
"The first objective is for all of us to end the violence and human rights abuses and the killings and get unimpeded access for humanitarian access to the needy," Annan said, "and of course the all-important issue of political process that will lead to a democratic Syria, fulfilling the aspirations of the Syrian people."
"If you come to the conclusion or make the judgment that it's a waste of time — or one side is playing for time — you draw the consequences and take appropriate action," he said.
While in Syria, Annan recounted, he talked not only with Assad and the foreign minister, but also with opposition, religious and civil society leaders along with business people and the head of the Syrian National Council in Ankara, Turkey.
He said the opposition figures he met — who were not part of the armed opposition — were keen to get talks going to resolve differences politically and peacefully, but were impatient, angry and "impatient" because the killings have continued and they want to see results.
Some opposition groups, however, reject any talks with the President al-Assad government saying it's too late and he must be replaced.
"The region is extremely concerned about developments in Syria," Annan said. "Their concern goes beyond Syria itself, because the crisis can have serious impact for the whole region if it's not handled effectively. I'm doing my best with the support of everyone to try and find a peaceful solution."
The former UN chief, who met President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus last weekend, has ordered a team of experts to Syria to discuss a possible ceasefire and international monitoring mission, his spokesman said.
Annan's team are to head to Damascus from New York and Geneva on Monday, his spokesman said.
Number of Comments (2)
Syria like an expresso machine n boil has its problems.
There is no solution to its currect situation. Assad still its leader for now.
Syrians should stay at home more for safety and seek a safer country to live.
Russia has supplied weapons to Syria to help equip it.
A state of seige that may get worse. Perhaps taking the communist citizen approach of passificism may be the best way to survive.
|| 3/20/2012 4:00:30 AM
start shifting money to the new syria transition government. talk to switzerland about this.
|| 3/19/2012 8:11:48 PM