U.N. monitors seeking to reach the site of a new reported massacre of Syrian villagers by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad were shot at with small arms, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday.
Ban, speaking at the start of a special U.N. General Assembly session on the Syrian crisis, condemned the reported massacre at Mazraat al-Kubeir as “an unspeakable barbarity” and called again on Assad to immediately implement international mediator Kofi Annan’s six-point peace plan, according to Reuters.
At least 100 people were killed, including about 50 women and children, in the reported new massacre in the outskirts of Hama, Syrian activists said.
“Today’s news reports of another massacre ... are shocking and sickening,” he told the 193-nation assembly. “A village apparently surrounded by Syrian forces. The bodies of innocent civilians lying where they were, shot. Some allegedly burned or slashed with knives.”
“We condemn this unspeakable barbarity and renew our determination to bring those responsible to account,” he said.
Assad lost all legitimacy
“U.N. monitors were initially denied access,” Ban told the 193-country assembly.
“They are working now to get to the scene and I just learned a few minutes ago that while trying to do so, the U.N. monitors were shot at with small arms.”
Ban again strongly condemned President Bashar al-Assad’s government, saying it had “lost all legitimacy,” with its record further tarnished by the massacres in al-Houla last month and in al-Kubeir.
“The trail of blood leads back to those responsible,” he said. “Any regime or leader that tolerates such killing of innocents has lost its fundamental humanity.”
Both sides commit violations
The Syrian opposition and Western and Gulf nations seeking the ouster of President Assad increasingly see Annan’s six-point peace plan as doomed due to the Syrian government’s determination to use military force to crush an increasingly militarized opposition.
Meanwhile, Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi condemned the ongoing violence in Syria as he addressed the U.N. general Assembly.
Arabi said that both the government forces and the no-governmental troops in Syria commit violations against civilians in the country.
The Arab League chief called for the punishment of all those involved in the human rights violations in Syria.
Arabi expressed his refusal to any military intervention in Syria and called for more political and economic pressure on the Syrian regime.
Annan expresses horror
On his part, international envoy Kofi Annan expressed his “horror and condemnation” at the new massacre in Syria and called for a “new level” of international action to halt the violence, according to AFP.
Annan made his condemnation in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly.
Annan said the time has come for the international community to examine other options to get Syrian President Assad to comply with a peace plan.
“The crisis is escalating, the violence is getting worse, the abuses are continuing, the country is becoming more polarized, more radicalized and serious, immediate neighbors are increasingly worried about the effects of spillover,” he told the General Assembly in New York.
“We must find the will and the common ground to act -- and act as one,” he said. “Individual actions or interventions will not resolve the crisis. As we demand compliance with international law and the six-point plan, it must be made clear that there will be consequences if compliance is not forthcoming.”
Death toll mounts
On the ground, the city of Talbisah in Homs suburbs was exposed to intensive shelling on Thursday, leaving a large number of people killed and injured, Al Arabiya reported. The shelling took place as Al Arabiya’s correspondent Mohammed Dughmosh was touring the city. He confirmed that the Syrian Air Force was shelling the city.
Meanwhile, as many as 20 people have been killed by the fire of Syrian forces across the country on Thursday, Al Arabiya reported citing Syrian activists.
The Syrian government forces shelled the Maarat al-Numan town in Idlib, the Sham Network reported. It said that one person was killed and scores of others were injured in the shelling of Deir Gamal village in Aleppo.