Activists: More Than 90 Killed in Syrian Government Shelling

Posted May 26th, 2012 at 2:35 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Activists say Syrian government shelling since Friday has killed at least 90 people, including many children, in some of the worst violence since an uprising against Syria's regime began more than a year ago.

The attacks on a residential area in the central town of Houla tarnished a fragile six-week-old cease-fire between government and opposition forces.

U.N. military and civilian observers in Houla counted, among the dead, at least 30 children under age 10 and at leasat 60 adults.

Videos posted on YouTube purportedly showed images of dead children.

The casualty count could not be independently confirmed.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his joint special envoy for Syria, Kofi Annan, condemned the violence. In a statement, the two men described the attacks as an “appalling and brutal crime involving indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force.”

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Saturday called for a meeting in Paris of the Friends of Syria, a group attempting to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power.

The opposition Syrian National Council urged the U.N. Security Council to convene an emergency session.

Thousands of mourners turned out Saturday in Syria's largest city, Aleppo, to protest the killings.

Government officials do not deny the attacks but blame unidentified “terrorists” for the incident.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told VOA the government raids forced residents to flee their homes and prompted an anti-government protest in Damascus Saturday.

The violence in Syria has continued despite a peace plan brokered by international envoy Kofi Annan six weeks ago. A spokesman for the former U.N. secretary-general says Mr. Annan will travel to Syria soon for his first visit since presenting the peace plan in March.

Syria's unrest is having an impact in northern Lebanon, where ethnic clashes between opponents and supporters of President Assad have left at least 11 people dead and more than 100 wounded in recent days.

The U.N. says more than 10,000 people have been killed in Syria since the government began its crackdown on dissent in March 2011.