Tank Syria Deraa 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
NEW YORK – The UN undersecretary- general for political affairs told Security
Council members Wednesday that the United Nations wants urgent access to the
city of Deraa in southern Syria, so that it can assess the humanitarian needs on
RELATED:Snipers shoot into Deraa as opposition calls for reformEU says 'all options on the table' to quell Syria violence
Reliable sources, B. Lynn Pascoe told the body Wednesday,
report that the Syrian army is carrying out a major operation in Deraa, both
firing at unarmed civilians and preventing the wounded from getting medical
care. Pascoe estimated the current death toll of demonstrators as being between
350 and 400.
The problems, he said, are compounded by the denial of
access to international and independent media.
“Repression is not the
solution,” Pascoe said. “An inclusive dialogue and genuine reforms should
address the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people, restore confidence and
ensure social peace and order.”
After Pascoe’s briefing, ambassadors
representing council members and Syria addressed the meeting.
impassioned speech, US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice told the Security Council
that the US “condemns in the strongest possible terms the abhorrent violence
used by the government of Syria against its own people.
calls on President Assad to change course now and heed the calls of his own
people,” Rice said.
“We also call upon the international community to
respond to this brutal crackdown, and to hold accountable those who are
perpetrating these gross human rights violations.
“The Syrian government
must acknowledge its people’s legitimate calls for substantial and lasting
reform,” Rice said.
“Words must be backed by actions to ensure real
reform in Syria. The Syrian people’s cries for freedom of expression,
association, peaceful assembly, and the ability to freely choose their leaders
must be heeded.”
British Ambassador to the UN Mark Lyall Grant said the
Security Council should be able to see four things: a stop to Syria’s violent
repression; the Assad government’s response to the demonstrators with reforms;
those responsible for violence must be brought to account; and the international
community needs to universally condemn the violence in Syria.
Kingdom is working intensively with our international partners to persuade the
Syrian authorities to stop the violence and to respect the basic and universal
human rights to freedom of expression and assembly,” Grant said.
look at further measures with our EU and other partners if the violence does not
stop. This might include targeted financial and travel sanctions against those
responsible for the violence, as well as their families and business
Syrian Ambassador Bashar Jaafari said Syrian security forces
exercise caution to avoid killing civilians. Jaafari attributed the violence to
armed criminal elements supported by foreign countries and extremist groups.