Dozens More Killed as UN Set to Discuss Syria Resolution

Posted January 27th, 2012 at 10:50 am (UTC-5)
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The violence in Syria continued Friday, bringing to more than 50 the number of people killed there over the past two days. This, as a U.N. resolution to curb the bloodshed appeared to be stalled.

More than 20 people were killed in attacks throughout the country — including six members of the security forces in the northwestern city of Idlib. Syrian activist Rami Abdul-Raham told VOA they were killed by a car bomb at a security checkpoint. Government forces were also reported to have carried out a raid in the flashpoint city of Homs.

The Free Syrian Army opposition group released a video purporting to show seven Iranian men, including five military officers, captured in Homs. The FSA said the Iranian officers were working with the Syrian air force, and that it would release the two civilians.

The French News Agency says the FSA is demanding Iran admit it is assisting Syria — a longtime Tehran ally — in the crackdown on anti-government protesters. There was no immediate comment from Iran.

The United Nations Security Council was expected to discuss Syria Friday afternoon.

Russia announced earlier it would not support a joint Arab-Western draft resolution to end the 10-month-old crisis because it “does not take into account” Moscow's positions on how to curb the violence.

Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov was quoted by Russia's ITAR-TASS news agency as saying Russia is concerned the resolution does not specifically rule out military intervention.

The resolution supports an Arab League plan calling for President Bashar al-Assad to transfer power to a deputy and form a national unity government to prepare for elections.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday urged the 15-member council to take action on the proposal, saying leaders should “seize this moment.”

“I hope that the Security Council will be able to act in a coherent and same voice.”

The Arab League is expected to formally present the plan to the Security Council next week, and a vote is expected soon thereafter.

Activists say security forces attacked a residential building in Homs on Thursday with mortars and machine-guns, killing at least 30 people. A video posted by them online shows the bodies of five children, at least three women and a man in a home killed during the violence. The video can not be independently verified.

Activists say Thursday's bloodshed appeared to be an escalation of sectarian violence between the city's large Sunni population and President Bashar al-Assad's Alawite Shiite sect.