Syria violence unprecedented: UN observer |
Arab News - 06 July, 2012
The head of Syria's UN observer mission said violence in the country under President Bashar Assad has reached “unprecedented” levels and he called for an end to the bloodshed.
Norwegian Maj. Gen. Robert Mood told reporters in the Syrian capital Damascus yesterday that there must be a cease-fire in order for his teams to resume their work.
About 300 UN monitors were sent to Syria to provide an unbiased look at the violence, but they have been confined to their hotels since June 15 because of the bloodshed.
Syrian troops rained shells on several areas of the northwestern province of Idlib yesterday, where anti-regime sentiment is strong, as a total of 27 people were killed across the country, monitors said.
Making situation worse for Assad, WikiLeaks said yesterday it was publishing over two million e-mails from Syrian political figures dating back to 2006 but also covering the period of the crackdown on dissent by Syria's regime.
“Just now... WikiLeaks began publishing the Syria files, more than two million e-mails from Syrian political figures, ministries and associated companies dating from August 2006 to March 2012,” said Sarah Harrison, spokeswoman for the anti-secrecy website.
The latest disclosures could throw fresh light on the workings of the Syrian regime and its interactions with allies in the run-up to and during the current bloody crackdown.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the 16 months of bloodshed in Syria have claimed more than 16,500 lives. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is currently holed up in Ecuador's embassy in London seeking political asylum, said in a written statement: “The material is embarrassing to Syria, but it is also embarrassing to Syria's external opponents.
“It helps us not merely to criticize one group or another, but to understand their interests, actions and thoughts.
“It is only through understanding this conflict that we can hope to resolve it.”
WikiLeaks said the first files, released on Wednesday, reveal that Italian defense giant Finmeccanica has provided communications equipment to the Syrian regime since the unrest began.
Due to raging violence, up to 5,000 Syrians have sought refuge in Jordan over the past week from the bloodshed in their country, in a possible prelude to a large-scale influx, the UN refugee agency said yesterday.
“Around 4,000 to 5,000 have crossed the borders this week, which is a large number,” the UNHCR representative in Jordan, Andrew Harper, told AFP. “More and more people are likely to be coming to the kingdom.”
“We are fine when we are dealing with 200 to 300 people a day, but once the number starts by initially 500 a day and then up to 1,000 a day, then we have to start seeking much bigger ... plans to respond to the potential large-scale influx.”
Zayed Hammad, head of the Ketab and Sunna Society, which takes care of more than 50,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan, said that “over 1,000 Syrians fled to the kingdom since dawn Thursday.”
“Blasts can be heard clearly every day from the border town of Ramtha, where people can no longer sleep at night,” Hammad said. “The society has given $ 10 million to the Syrian refugees in Jordan in the form of in-kind assistance and cash since last year,” he added.
Jordan is hosting around 140,000 Syrians, of whom 27,344 are UN-registered.
Separately, China said yesterday it would not attend a “Friends of Syria” meeting in Paris that is aiming to coordinate Western and Arab efforts to stop violence in the country. “(China) at present does not consider attending the meeting,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin told reporters when asked about a French invitation to be involved in the event that is due to take place today.
The Paris meeting follows one in Tunis in February and another in April in Istanbul that both called in vain for tougher action against the Syrian government.