Syria Houla Massacre: UN Security Council Calls Emergency Meeting After Russia Refuses To Condemn Killings

27/05/2012 18:28 | Updated 27 May 2012

The UN security council is holding an emergency meeting on Sunday evening to discuss the massacre in Houla, Syria according to Sky News.

Gruesome video footage emerged earlier on Sunday showing rows of dead Syrian children lying in a mosque with gaping head wounds.

It is the the worst bloodshed since the start of the U.N peace plan, the violence sparked by anti-government forces retaliating to shelling by Assad's forces, according to The Guardian.

The UN meeting was set up after Russia rejected the statement that was issued jointly by the UK and France condemning the killings, according to BBC News.

Russia and China have been the principal opponents of stronger action against the Syrian regime by the UN.

The Syrian government flatly denied claims that its forces were responsible for the slaughter, blaming "terrorists".

Foreign Secretary William Hague has called for a "strong" international response over the "stomach-churning" massacre of civilians, including dozens of children.

Mr Hague is travelling to Moscow on Monday to discuss the matter with Russia's foreign minister.

Speaking on Sunday, Mr Hague said he was "absolutely sickened" by the recent deaths in Syria.

"It isn't in the interests of Russia, it's not in anyone's interests, for Syria to descend into an even bloodier situation and into a full-scale civil war and that's now the danger," he added.

"We are absolutely sickened in the British government and across the international community by what we've seen over the last few days, in particular about the deaths of more than 100 unarmed men, women and children."

He said they were "more statistics" to add to a "huge total" that demonstrate the "brutality and murderous nature of the regime", adding that the deaths "illuminate the type of tyranny that the people in Syria have been experiencing".

He said: "It is a familiar tactic of the Assad regime to blame others for what's happening in their country to try to get out of responsibility for the scale of the destruction.

The Foreign Office has said it will issue a diplomatic reprimand to the Syrian charge d'affaires on Monday over one of bloodiest episodes in the country's 14-month-old uprising.

The diplomat has been summoned to the Foreign Office amid international outrage over the attack on Houla, in central Syria, resulting in the deaths of more than 90 people, including 32 children under the age of 10, according to United Nations observers.

Local activist Abu Yazan told the paper that the shelling killed 12 people, with 106 killed by pro-regime thugs called "shabiha".

He said: "They killed entire families, from parents on down to children, but they focused on the children."

Foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said that Syria is being subjected to a "tsunami of lies" and claimed that anti-government gunmen carried out the attack.

"We categorically deny the responsibility of government forces for the massacre," Mr Makdissi said.

Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt said the council would need "all the options on the table" at the meeting.

Mr Burt said the Foreign Secretary would be meeting the Russian foreign minister in Moscow tomorrow. Russia and China have been the principle opponents of stronger action against the Syrian regime by the UN.

"There should be an urgent meeting of the Security Council and they will have to have all the options on the table that they need in order to show that the international community cannot be thwarted," Mr Burt told Sky News.

The Syrian charge d'affairs will tomorrow meet the Foreign Office's political director, Sir Geoffrey Adams, who will inform him in person of Britain's condemnation of the regime's actions.

In a statement yesterday, Mr Hague said: "Our urgent priority is to establish a full account of this appalling crime and to move swiftly to ensure that those responsible are identified and held to account.

"We are consulting urgently with our allies on a strong international response, including at the UN Security Council, the EU and UN human rights bodies."

The massacre comes after a Syrian general with links to President Bashar Assad declared his determination to come to Britain for the London Olympics.

General Mofwaq Joumaa, president of the Syrian National Olympic Committee, said that he would complain to the International Olympic Committee if his visa was denied.

Visas are still being sought for all of the 11 athletes and 20 officials - including coaches - wanting to attend the games on behalf of Syria, whose regime has been condemned by Britain for its brutal crackdown on opponents.

It is thought that the athletes may receive visas because those of Olympic standard are not required to serve in the armed forces, but there is a question mark against General Joumaa and other officials.

General Joumaa said: "If anyone was blocked because of their military background, that would be unfair. Anyone who has a military background in Syria, they are an ordinary citizen of this country.

"You have seen how much Syria enjoys security and safety. We are a peaceful country. The Syrian people have love in their hearts for the British people."

Mr Clegg said today that no figures associated with atrocities would be allowed into Britain, under new rules preventing entry for people who are not "conducive to the public good".

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told BBC1's Andrew Marr Show: "The scenes of savagery that we have seen on our television screens are revolting, stomach-churning."

However, he would not give assurances on specific individuals.

"As far as we are concerned we have recently said very clearly if you have abused human rights and that is shown to be the case you can't come into this country," he said.

Asked whether anybody connected to the atrocities in Syria would be blocked from coming for the Olympics, he said: "Of course, what I can't tell you is exactly who those names are."

07/13/2012 1:00 PM EDT

Car Bomb In Damascus

syria car bomb

Syrian policemen inspect the site of a car bomb explosion on Mazzeh highway in the capital Damascus on July 13, 2012. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read -/AFP/GettyImages)

07/13/2012 12:00 PM EDT

Susan Rice Condemns Killings

U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice tweets:

@ AmbassadorRice :

#Syria regime turned artillery, tanks and helicopters on its own men & women. It unleashed knife-wielding shabiha gangs on its own children.

07/13/2012 11:58 AM EDT

Russia Condemns Massacre

Russia says international envoy Kofi Annan will visit Moscow on Monday to discuss the ongoing crisis in Syria. Russia also called for an inquiry into an alleged massacre that took place in the village of Tramseh on Thursday. "We have no doubt that this wrongdoing serves the interests of those powers that are not seeking peace but persistently seek to sow the seeds of interconfessional and civilian conflict on Syrian soil," Russia's foreign ministry said in a statement, according to Reuters. Moscow did not apportion blame for the killings.


07/13/2012 11:55 AM EDT


The Associated Press obtained a video that purports to show the aftermath of an alleged massacre in the village of Tramseh, near Hama.

07/13/2012 9:34 AM EDT

How Do Syrian Fighters Get Their Arms?

How do Syria's fighters get their arms? An overview put together by Reuters explains that there are three gateways to the country -- Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq.

Syrian rebels are smuggling small arms into Syria through a network of land and sea routes involving cargo ships and trucks moving through Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq, maritime intelligence and Free Syrian Army (FSA) officers say.

Western and regional powers deny any suggestion they are involved in gun running. Their interest in the sensitive border region lies rather in screening to ensure powerful weapons such as surface to air missiles do not find their way to Islamist or other militants.

Read the full report here.

07/13/2012 9:10 AM EDT

Activists Report New Massacre (WARNING: GRAPHIC PHOTOS)


This citizen journalism image made from video provided by Shaam News Network SNN, purports to show a victim wounded by violence that, according to anti-regime activists, was carried out by government forces in Tremseh, Syria about 15 kilometers (nine miles) northwest of the central city of Hama, Thursday, July 12, 2012. The accounts, some of which claim more than 200 people were killed in the violence Thursday, could not be independently confirmed, but would mark the latest in a string of brutal offensives by Syrian forces attempting to crush the rebellion. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network, SNN)


This citizen journalism image made from video provided by Shaam News Network SNN, purports to show a man mourning a victim killed by violence that, according to anti-regime activists, was carried out by government forces in Tremseh, Syria about 15 kilometers (nine miles) northwest of the central city of Hama, Thursday, July 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network, SNN)

07/12/2012 6:50 PM EDT

Hama Revolutionary Council: More Than 220 Killed

According to the Hama Revolutionary Council, a Syrian opposition group, more than 220 people have been killed in a new alleged massacre in Taramseh. Earlier reports said more than 100 people were killed. "More than 220 people fell today in Taramseh," the Council said in a statement. "They died from bombardment by tanks and helicopters, artillery shelling and summary executions."

Fadi Sameh, an opposition activist from Taramseh, told Reuters he had left the town before the reported massacre but was in touch with residents. "It appears that Alawite militiamen from surrounding villages descended on Taramseh after its rebel defenders pulled out, and started killing the people. Whole houses have been destroyed and burned from the shelling," Sameh claimed.


07/12/2012 6:17 PM EDT

Syrian State TV: 'Large Numbers Of Terrorists Killed'

Syrian activist Rami Jarrah tweets that Syrian State TV has confirmed deaths in Tremseh. "Terrorists" is often the term used by the Syrian regime for opposition forces.

@ AlexanderPageSY :

Syrian State TV: clashes between security apparatus & terrorists in #Tremseh of #Hama leaves large numbers of terrorists killed #Syria

07/12/2012 5:36 PM EDT

Update: Death Toll In New Massacre Reportedly More Than 200

@ Reuters :


07/12/2012 5:33 PM EDT

Reports Of New Massacre In Hama

@ Reuters :

At least 100 killed in Syrian village: opposition activists

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