UNITED NATIONS, May 28 (APP): The Security Council, meeting in an emergency session on Sunday evening, added its voice to the condemnation by U.N. officials of the recent massacre of men, women and children in the Syrian village of Houla. The 15-nation Council was briefed in a closed-door session by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Herve Ladsous as well as by video-link by General Robert Mood, head of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS), on the killings that took place on May 25 and in the early hours of May 26 of a reported 108 civilians, including over 30 children.
On Saturday UN military observers went to Houla, a village near Homs,
and confirmed the killings as well as the wounding of hundreds of
civilians, according to a world body’s report. They also confirmed from
an examination of ordnance that artillery and tank shells were fired in
In a letter sent to the Council, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated that,
while the detailed circumstances are unknown, we can confirm that there
has been artillery and mortar shelling. There have also been other forms
of violence, including shootings at close range and severe physical
abuse. The Council, in a statement to the press, condemned the killings
in the strongest possible terms as well as the killing of civilians by
shooting at close range and by severe physical abuse.
They also demanded that the Syrian Government immediately cease the use
of heavy weapons in population centres and immediately pull back its
troops and its heavy weapons from in and around population centres and
return them to their barracks. ON Saturday, the UN chief, Gen.
Mood and the UN-Arab League for Syria, Kofi Annan, issued statements in which they strongly condemned the killings and urged that those responsible be held to account. The killings have also sparked outrage from the President of the General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, who said in a statement that these shocking killings in a populated neighborhood are a flagrant violation of international law and the commitments made by the Syrian Government, and from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
This outrageous crime against such young children who have no part in
these battles points to a new urgency in finding solutions to the Syrian
conflict. Such a massacre cannot go unpunished, said Sarah Crowe,
spokesperson for the Executive Director of UNICEF. The UN estimates that
more than 9,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Syria and
tens of thousands displaced since the uprising against President Bashar
al-Assad began some 14 months ago.