UN Says Most of 108 Syria Massacre Victims Were Summarily Executed Not Killed In Artillery Fire
So much for the Syrian government’s cover story in the Houla killings that took 108 lives and shocked the world with images of scores of dead children lying side by side: the UN says most victims were summarily executed…period:
Most of the 108 victims of the Houla killings in Syria were executed, the United Nations said Tuesday – an announcement that triggered a coordinated worldwide expulsion of Syrian diplomats.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights says its monitors found that fewer than 20 died from artillery fire. It was first thought the majority of the deaths were caused by artillery fire.
Images of bloodied, young bodies laid out in a shallow grave after Friday’s onslaught triggered shock around the world and underlined the failure of a six-week-old U.N. cease-fire plan to stop the violence. [TMV Editor's Note: WARNING here are those disturbing, tragic graphic video images via You Tube]
Syrian authorities blamed “terrorists” for the massacre, among the worst carnage in the 14-month-old uprising against Assad, which has cost about 10,000 lives.
In an effort coordinated by Britain, several nations – including Canada, Australia, France and Germany – responded to the U.N. findings by expelling diplomats, as ITV News reported. Syria’s charge d’affaires, Ghassan Dalla, the country’s topranking diplomat in London, was among those ordered to return to Damascus.
Britain, France, the United States and three other European countries are expelling the ambassadors of Syria in protest at the massacre of more than 100 people, including scores of children, in Houla near Hama last weekend.
The co-ordinated international diplomatic action came as Kofi Annan, representing the UN and the Arab League, met the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, in Damascus “to convey the grave concern of the international community about the violence in Syria” and the prospects for the implementation of his apparently failing six-point plan.
Australia also said it was expelling the Syrian ambassador. It is understood that the US will follow suit. Germany announced it was expelling the Syrian envoy, and Spain and Italy are due to do the same.
Syria has flatly denied responsibility for the atrocity, calling it a “terrorist massacre”.
France’s president, François Hollande, was the first European leader to announce the expulsion of the ambassador, describing it as “not a unilateral decision but in consultation with our partners”. Britain’s decision was due to be made public by William Hague, the foreign secretary, shortly afterwards.
It was not immediately clear why other members of the 27-strong EU had not joined in.
Britain withdrew its ambassador and in effect closed its embassy in Damascus on security grounds earlier this year. That meant there was little to lose by taking this punitive step. But its effect will be largely symbolic. Syria’s ambassador, Sami Khiyami, left London some months ago. The charge d’affaires, Ghassan Dalla, was given the news when he was called into the Foreign Office. Two other Syrian diplomats have also been told to leave the UK.
Many Republicans have demanded the U.S. take stronger action in various forms: covert, arming rebels, Polls have found sentiment in Europe for UN intervention and little interest among the U.S public for American intervention amid Iraq-Afghanistan war fatigue.