Assad Condemns Houla Killings

Posted June 3rd, 2012 at 6:25 am (UTC-5)
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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad denies his government had anything to do with the massacre in Houla, saying not even “monsters” would carry out such an act.

The Syrian leader made the comment about last month's brutal massacre in Houla that left more than 100 people dead, including 49 children, in his first address to parliament since elections in May.

President Assad told parliament Sunday that Syria is facing a foreign plot to destroy the country.

His speech comes a day after Arab League leaders met in Doha for an emergency session with U.N. and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.

Mr. Annan said the “specter of all-out war” in Syria grows by the day. He said recent atrocities show the conflict is quickly spiraling out of control.

Saturday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talked with her Russia counterpart Sergei Lavrov about working together to help Syrians with their political transition strategy.

The Arab League has called for the U.N. Security Council to replace its almost 300 monitors in Syria with peacekeepers.

Fighting broke out late Friday across the Syrian border in the northern Lebanese port city of Tripoli, killing nine people, including civilians, and wounding more than 30. Lebanese officials say the clashes were between pro-Assad and anti-Assad militiamen.

Syria's Homs province has once again experienced violence. Amateur video posted on the Internet showed what was described as shellfire slamming into buildings in Bab al-Sebaa. Another video showed a bomb blast targeting Syrian soldiers who were escorting U.N. observers in Erbin.

Calls for foreign intervention are mounting. From Qatar, the head of the largest Syrian exile opposition group called on Arab countries to intervene. Syrian National Council leader Burhan Ghalioun said he would welcome Arab military action to stop attacks on pro-democracy activists and civilians.

Pressure is also increasing on the U.S. and other Western nations to act.