Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Royal decree on low-cut tops

Read more

DEBATE

Ukraine, The Escalation: No Stopping Putin? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Ukraine, The Escalation: No Stopping Putin?

Read more

FOCUS

Bangladesh: Textile workers' lives still at risk?

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

José Bové, Candidate for the EU Commission presidency, Group of the Greens

Read more

WEB NEWS

NYPD's online campaign backfires

Read more

ENCORE!

Celebrating the Bard's birthday in Britain

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yuki Tatsumi, Senior Associate of the East Asia Program, Stimson Center

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

USA: Executions halted over drugs secrecy

Read more

  • Russia orders military drills as Ukraine moves on separatists

    Read more

  • Israel halts Middle East peace talks over Hamas deal

    Read more

  • Platini: PSG in danger over Financial Fair Play rules

    Read more

  • Ségolène Royal denies banning cleavage at French ministry

    Read more

  • Afghan guard kills US doctors in Kabul hospital attack

    Read more

  • Palestinian unity deal stirs anger in Israel

    Read more

  • Video: Mayor in east Ukraine ready ‘to turn Slaviansk into battlefield’

    Read more

  • US would defend Japan in islands dispute, Obama says

    Read more

  • New far-right mayor moves to quash Paris region mosque

    Read more

  • US soldiers arrive in Poland as Ukraine crisis continues

    Read more

  • Fatah, Hamas agree to form Palestinian unity government

    Read more

  • Millions of Syrians desperately need aid, says UN

    Read more

  • Muslims in CAR pray for an escape route

    Read more

  • Madrid beat Bayern 1-0 in first leg of Champions League semis

    Read more

  • Britain's ex-PM Blair warns against spread of radical Islam

    Read more

  • Turkish PM offers condolences to descendants of Armenians killed in 1915

    Read more

  • Gay marriage, one year on: ‘French civilisation did not crumble’

    Read more

  • Colombian president reinstates firebrand Bogota mayor

    Read more

  • NYPD public relations campaign on Twitter goes awry

    Read more

  • In pictures: Violent protests erupt in Rio

    Read more

Middle east

UN observers 'shot at' trying to reach mass killing site

©

Video by Stephen Carroll

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-06-07

The UN monitor team in Syria trying to reach the site where scores of civilians were reportedly killed by pro-regime militiamen came under fire on Thursday, according to UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

REUTERS - U.N. monitors seeking to reach the site of a new reported massacre of Syrian villagers by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad were shot at with small arms, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday.

Heavy weapons used against UN monitors in Syria

Heavy weapons, armor-piercing bullets and surveillance drones have been used against UN observers in Syria to hamper their efforts to monitor the worsening conflict, UN leader Ban Ki-moon told a Security Council meeting on Thursday.

Diplomats inside a closed council briefing on Syria quoted Ban as saying the tactics had been used to try to force the unarmed monitors to withdraw from areas where government forces have been accused of staging attacks.

Ban said the heavy shelling had been used to deter a UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) convoy, drones had monitored the movements of observers and the armor-piercing bullets had been fired at UNSMIS vehicles.

According to UN officials, UN vehicles are shot at almost every day in Syria.

Source: AFP

Ban, speaking at the start of a special U.N. General Assembly session on the Syrian crisis, condemned the reported massacre at Mazraat al-Qubeir and called again on Assad to immediately implement international mediator Kofi Annan’s six-point peace plan.

"Today’s news reports of another massacre ... are shocking and sickening," he told the 193-nation assembly. "A village apparently surrounded by Syrian forces. The bodies of innocent civilians lying where they were, shot. Some allegedly burned or slashed with knives."

"We condemn this unspeakable barbarity and renew our determination to bring those responsible to account," he said.

Ban said U.N. monitors were initially denied access to the site. "They are working now to get to the scene," he said. "And I just learned a few minutes ago that while trying to do so the U.N. monitors were shot at with small arms."

Ban was addressing the General Assembly ahead Annan’s expected presentation to the U.N. Security Council on Thursday of a new proposal in a last-ditch effort to rescue his failing peace plan for Syria, where 15 months of violence have brought it to the brink of civil war.

Speaking to the General Assembly after Ban, Annan also condemned the new reported massacre and acknowledged that his peace plan was not working.

The Syrian opposition and Western and Gulf nations seeking the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad increasingly see Annan’s six-point peace plan as doomed due to the Syrian government’s determination to use military force to crush an increasingly militarized opposition.

Russia continues to protect Assad

The core of Annan’s proposal, diplomats said, would be the establishment of a contact group that would bring together Russia, China, the United States, Britain, France and key regional players with influence on Syria’s government and the opposition, such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Iran.

By creating such a contact group, envoys said, Annan would also be trying to break the deadlock among the five permanent council members that has pitted veto powers Russia and China against the United States, Britain and France and prevented any meaningful U.N. action on the Syrian conflict, envoys said.

Syria conflict - FRANCE 24 Analysis

It would attempt to map out a "political transition" for Syria that would lead to Assad stepping aside and the holding of free elections, envoys said. One diplomat said the idea was "vaguely similar" to a political transition deal for Yemen that led to the president’s ouster.

The main point of Annan’s proposal, they said, is to get Russia to commit to the idea of a Syrian political transition, which remains the thrust of Annan’s six-point peace plan, which both the Syrian government and opposition said they accepted earlier this year but have failed to implement.

"We’re trying to get the Russians to understand that if they don’t give up on Assad, they stand to lose all their interests in Syria if this thing blows up into a major regional war involving Lebanon, Iran, Saudis," a Western diplomat told Reuters. "So far the Russians have not agreed."

Apart from lucrative Russian arms sales to Damascus, Syria hosts Russia’s only warm water port outside the former Soviet Union. While Russia has said it is not protecting Assad, it has given no indications that it is ready to abandon him.

Last week, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice suggested that if Russia continued to prevent the Security Council from putting pressure on Syria, states may have no choice but to consider acting outside the United Nations.

 


 

Date created : 2012-06-07

  • SYRIA

    Syrian expat businessmen announce fund for rebels

    Read more

  • RUSSIA - CHINA

    China, Russia to coordinate on Annan's Syria peace plan

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Syria's Assad appoints Riyad Hijab as new PM

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)