Rights Activists Say Pro-Government Militiamen Kill 5 in Syria

Posted January 16th, 2012 at 7:25 am (UTC-5)
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Syrian rights activists say pro-government militia members have killed five people and wounded nine others in the restive city of Homs.

The continued violence Monday comes a day after Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani called for Arab troops to be sent to Syria.

His comments broadcast Sunday in an interview with the U.S. television network CBS represent the first such proposal made by an Arab leader.

The head of the Arab League monitoring team in the Syrian capital, Sudanese Ambassador Jafaar Kudaiba, told a VOA correspondent in Damascus Sunday that he will take up the idea of a military force when the League meets to review the observer mission on Saturday.

“That's going to be discussed during the meeting with the Arab ministers. So it's just a suggestion from one party.”

Former Arab League secretary general Amr Moussa said the 22-member bloc should discuss the Qatari emir's idea of replacing the monitoring mission with a military force to separate Syrian security forces and civilians.

Meanwhile, rights activists said government security forces killed at least 11 civilians Sunday, as U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon demanded Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stop killing his own people.

Speaking in Beirut at a conference on democracy in the Arab world, Mr. Ban said “the path of repression is a dead end,” and recent Arab revolutions show that people are no longer content with one-man rule.

“From the very beginning of the year's, last year's revolutions, from Tunisia through Egypt and beyond, I called on leaders to listen to their people, listen to the genuine aspirations of their people, what they need, and what are their voices. Some did and benefited; some didn't, and today they are reaping the whirlwind. Today, I say again to President Assad of Syria: Stop the violence. Stop killing your own people. The path of repression is a dead end. The lessons of the past year are eloquent and clear. The winds of change will not cease to blow. The flame ignited in Tunisia will not be dimmed.”


Arab League monitors have been in Syria since December 26, and are due to complete their mission Thursday. Syrian rights groups say President Assad has deceived the monitors and escalated deadly attacks on the opposition in recent weeks.

Syrian protesters have been demanding the introduction of democracy and an end to Mr. Assad's 11-year autocratic rule since last March. Army defectors have joined the revolt in recent months and engaged in battles with pro-Assad forces. Syria blames the uprising on “armed terrorists” backed by a foreign conspiracy.

The United Nations says violence linked to the uprising has killed more than 5,000 people. Syria says “terrorists” have killed about 2,000 members of the security forces since the unrest began.