UN Condemns Syria Bombings

Posted December 24th, 2011 at 1:25 am (UTC-5)
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The United Nations Security Council has condemned Friday's twin suicide bombings in Syria, but remains divided on a full resolution on the nine-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.

The 15-member council expressed their condolences to the victims, their families and the Syrian people in a statement Friday.

Syrian state television reports that two bombers used vehicles packed with explosives to attack a pair of state security facilities in Damascus, killing at least 44 people and wounding nearly 150 others.

In a statement, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his “growing concerns” over the crisis in Syria. The U.N. chief called for an immediate stop to the violence and for Mr. Assad's government to “speedily” implement an Arab League peace plan.

With violence escalating, Russia has given the Security Council a revised draft resolution, in another attempt for the group to draw up a plan to curb the violence in Syria.

Russia's ambassador to the U.N., Vitaly Churkin, urged the council to act as quickly as possible, but again refused to endorse calls for sanctions from many of the council's Western members.

“If their insistence is to have some kind of reference to sanctions, that is not going to happen. But in terms of strong emphasis on human rights, on stopping violence, no impunity, investigation, cooperation with human rights institutions, we are open to discussions and to various formulations which can hopefully satisfy our colleagues in the Security Council.''

The bombings came hours after an Arab League advance delegation arrived in Syria. The League is setting up an observer mission to monitor whether the government follows through on its promise to stop the crackdown on dissent.

The state-run SANA news agency blamed al-Qaida for what it called Friday's “terrorist attacks.” But the opposition blamed Mr. Assad's government for the bombings, which appear to be the first of their kind since the anti-government uprising began in March.

A deputy foreign minister used Friday's attacks to defend the government's stance that terrorists are behind the unrest.

” All who stand behind these criminals in Syria and defend and support these crimes are considered responsible for the terrorist acts.”

Activists said security forces killed at least 14 more protesters across Syria on Friday as demonstrations broke out in several cities following the bombings.

On Thursday, Syria said more than 2,000 security force members had been killed since the uprising began. The United Nations says at least 5,000 people have been killed.