Syrian government kills 3

Forces open fire on a group of demonstrators in Homs; UN representatives in Geneva call for an end to violence.

August 23, 2011 13:11
2 minute read.
A tank keeps watch in Banias, Syria, Monday.

syrian tank_311 reuters. (photo credit: Reuters)

Syrian human rights groups say government forces opened fire on a group of demonstrators in Homs leaving three people dead.

The incident happened on the same day a United Nations humanitarian group was visiting the country.

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During a meeting at the UN headquarters in Geneva, representatives called on the Syrian government to end it's bloody crackdown on peaceful protests.

US Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe said at the meeting, "Our message today to the Syrian government is clear: we will not turn a blind eye as you deliberately and ruthlessly, imprison, torture and kill your own citizens. To the brave people of Syria who are demanding freedom and dignity, we send the message that the world stands by you and we will not ignore your plight."

The UN team arrived in Syria on Saturday to assess humanitarian needs in the country, a UN official said. The UN has sought access for the team since May.

“We welcome the fact that the government has approved the humanitarian mission,” said the official. She added that the team will “assess the humanitarian situation and condition of basic social services and identify initial assistance needs that could be addressed through a rapid response.”

She did not say which parts of the country the team would visit, but said the mission would continue until Thursday.

UN humanitarian Affairs Chief, Valerie Amos, told the UN Security Council on Thursday that the visit must not be a one-time offer, and that her team would need unhindered access to all parts of Syria.

Assad told UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week that all military and police operations had ceased, but activists say dozens of protesters have been killed since then.

Syria’s UN ambassador has accused the United States and its allies of waging a “diplomatic and humanitarian war” against Syria. “These forces have nothing but hatred against my country and my nation,” Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari said.

On Friday, Assad’s forces killed 34 people, including four children, in Homs and Deraa, where the popular revolt began in March, as well as in suburbs of Damascus and the ancient desert town of Palmyra, activists said.

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