US, UN Condemn Syrian Cross-Border Attacks

Posted April 9th, 2012 at 4:55 pm (UTC-5)
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The United States and the United Nations on Monday condemned a Syrian attack on a refugee camp in Turkey in which at least five people were wounded, as well as the death of a TV cameraman in Lebanon who was killed in crossfire.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Washington “strongly condemns any attack by the Syrian regime on refugees in bordering countries” and that the U.S. is “outraged” by the report. She also said there is “no indication” that Syria is preparing to pull back its forces and to stop all military action by April 10.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made a final plea for President Bashar al-Assad to halt attacks on civilians a day before a U.N.-brokered cease-fire is supposed to take effect. He also deplored fatal cross-border shootings from Syria into Turkey and Lebanon.

Syrian state TV reported that Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem will travel to Moscow in the next 24 hours to discuss the security situation inside Syria, while international peace envoy Kofi Annan is due to visit one of the refugee camps in Turkey Tuesday.

Government forces, meanwhile, continued to attack areas in numerous parts of the country Monday, dimming prospects for a diplomatic solution to the Syrian conflict.

The Carnegie Endowment's Sinan Ulgen said Monday's attack on the refugee camp in Turkey may help Ankara convince its international partners to revise its policy on the Assad government.

“This incident gives justification for Turkish policymakers to pressure the international community to do more to precipitate the ousting of Assad.”

Turkey has set up camps for Syrians fleeing a bloody crackdown on a 13-month anti-government uprising.

In Beijing, China's Foreign Ministry urged the Syrian government and opposition groups to abide by pledges for a cease-fire.

Separately, an international rights group said Syrian forces have summarily executed more than 100 people, mostly civilians, during the past four months, mostly in March. Monday's report by Human Rights Watch said this includes several mass executions in the restive provinces of Homs and Idlib. The New York-based rights group says it only included cases corroborated by witnesses, but has received more reports of similar incidents.

U.N. officials say more than 9,000 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising began 13 months ago.