Syrian President Bashar Assad 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/SANA/Handout)
Security forces in Syria killed 111 people ahead of the arrival of monitors to
oversee the implementation of an Arab League peace plan, activists said on
France joined the US and UK in denouncing an “unprecedented
Syria opposition demands UN actions as scores killed
Arab League: Monitors in Syria by month's end
Iran said five of its technicians had been kidnapped in the
flashpoint city of Homs, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported. “The five
were kidnapped on Wednesday at 6:30 a.m. while heading to their work place... We
demand their immediate release,” the agency quoted a statement issued by the
Iranian Embassy in Damascus as saying.
Syria’s state news agency SANA
reported that eight engineers “of different nationalities” had disappeared after
heading by bus to their work at a power plant in the city.
Abdulrahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 111 civilians and
activists were killed on Tuesday when President Bashar Assad’s forces surrounded
them in the foothills of the northern Jabal al-Zawiyah region in Idlib province
and unleashed two hours of bombardment and heavy gunfire. Another 100 army
deserters were either wounded or killed, making it the “bloodiest day of the
Syrian revolution,” he said.
Tuesday’s bloodshed brought the death toll
reported by activists to more than 200 in 48 hours.
The main opposition
Syrian National Council said “gruesome murders” were carried out, including the
beheading of a local imam, and demanded international action to protect
“There was a massacre of unprecedented scale in Syria on
Tuesday,” French Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bernard Valero said. “It is urgent
that the UN Security Council issues a firm resolution that calls for an end to
The US said it was “deeply disturbed” by reports of
indiscriminate killing and warned Assad the violence must stop.
House Press Secretary Jay Carney said unless Damascus complied fully with the
Arab League plan to end the violence, “additional steps” would be taken against it.
Washington and the European Union have already
imposed sanctions on Syria.
“We urge Syria’s few remaining supporters in
the international community to warn Damascus that if the Arab League initiative
is once again not fully implemented, the international community will take
additional steps to pressure the Assad regime to stop its crackdown,” Carney
said. “Bashar Assad should have no doubt that the world is watching, and neither
the international community nor the Syrian people accept his
Britain said it was shocked by the reports and urged Syria
to “end immediately its brutal violence against civilians.”
northwestern province bordering Turkey, has been a hotbed of protest during the
nine-month revolt, and has also seen increasing attacks by armed insurgents
against his forces.
The Syrian National Council demanded “an emergency UN
Security Council session to discuss the regime’s massacres in Jabal al-Zawiyah,
Idlib and Homs, in particular” and called for “safe zones” to be set up under
It also said those regions should be declared
disaster areas and urged the International Red Crescent and other relief
organizations to provide humanitarian aid.
Arab League Secretary-General
Nabil Elaraby said on Tuesday that an advance observer team would go to Syria on
Thursday to prepare the way for 150 monitors due to arrive by the end of the
Syria stalled for weeks before signing a protocol on Monday to
admit the monitors, who are to check its compliance with the plan mandating an
end to violence, withdrawal of troops from the streets, release of prisoners and
dialogue with the opposition.
Syrian officials say more than 1,000
prisoners have been freed since the plan was agreed upon six weeks ago and that
the army has pulled out of cities. The government promised a parliamentary
election early next year as well as constitutional reform that might loosen the
ruling Ba’ath Party’s grip on power.
Syrian democracy activists are
skeptical about Assad’s commitment to the plan, which, if implemented, could
embolden demonstrators demanding an end to his 11-year rule.
In a show of
military power, state television broadcast footage of live-fire exercises held
by the navy and air force, which it said aimed at deterring any attack on
The UN has said more than 5,000 people have been killed in Syria
since protests broke out in March.