Activists Say Syrian Troops Kill More Than 100 Civilians

Posted December 21st, 2011 at 5:40 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Syrian rights activists say government troops killed more than 100 civilians and dozens of army defectors Tuesday, in one of the deadliest days since an anti-government uprising began in March.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Wednesday that government troops killed 111 people after surrounding civilians in Kafruwed, a village in the northwestern province of Idlib.

The reported attack Tuesday came as foreign observers prepare to enter Syria in an effort to end the nine months of bloody unrest.

Witnesses also told the Observatory that troops besieged a group of army deserters in Idlib, killing or wounding as many as 100. Civilian deaths were reported in other areas as well.

The Observatory's claims could not be independently confirmed because Syria has restricted foreign journalists in the country.

Arab League officials say an advance team will arrive in Syria Thursday to prepare for the observer mission, which will eventually involve hundreds of monitors. The team will include security, legal and human rights experts.

Syria agreed to allow the observers into the country under global pressure to stop the bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters.

Critics have said the move is a stalling tactic. Ian Lustick, a Mideast analyst with the University of Pennsylvania, told VOA that similar scenarios have played out in other countries in the region, and that he doubts the observer mission will occur as planned.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says the Arab League monitors will be crucial to monitor the protection of innocent civilians and to give the world an accurate picture of what is going on in Syria.

The United Nations says at least 5,000 people have been killed during the nine-month uprising against the government of President Bashar al-Assad. Syrian authorities blame the violence on “armed terrorist groups.”