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FACTDROP: Syria regime accuses US of 'bloody events'


Syria regime accuses US of 'bloody events'

A protester faces riot police near Homs last week. Syrian troops' response to anti-government protests after Friday prayers will be a litmus test of Syria's agreement with the Arab League to stop shooting and open talks with the protesters, opposition leaders said.

Πηγή: The National
Nov 8 2011

DAMASCUS // The Syrian government yesterday urged the Arab League to help it against the US, which it accused of involvement in "bloody events".

The appeal came as the opposition called for the "international protection" of civilians.

The Arab League, which is trying to implement its blueprint to end the Syrian government's eight-month crackdown on protesters, said it received the request in a letter from the Syrian foreign minister, Walid Muallem, the Agence France-Presse news agency said.

In the letter, Syria accused Washington "of actual involvement in bloody events in Syria", the Arab League said. The League was asked to "condemn the involvement and to do what is necessary to end it", the group said in a statement.

The letter did not provide details on the charges against the US.

The Syrian government has in the past accused the US ambassador to Damascus, Robert Ford, of inciting violence by visiting protest hubs, before Washington recalled him last month following "credible threats against his safety in Syria". In the letter, Syria, which is under growing pressure to implement an Arab plan, sought Arab assistance "to provide the appropriate atmosphere to implement the agreement", said the statement. 

The Arab League's deputy chief, Ahmed Ben Hilli, told Agence France-Presse yesterday that Syria had sent a letter detailing the steps it took towards carrying out the plan, but he refused to elaborate. 

The league has called an emergency meeting in Cairo on Saturday on Syria's failure to implement its road map, which calls on President Bashar Al Assad to open talks with the opposition. 

An opposition bloc yesterday called for international protection of civilians in Homs, which is besieged by Mr Al Assad's troops.

Declaring Homs a "humanitarian disaster area", the Syrian National Council (SNC) urged the UN, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Arab League to act "to stop the massacre committed by the regime". 

It called on the international community to send "Arab and international observers, instantly, to the city of Homs to oversee the situation on the ground, and prevent the regime from continuing to commit brutal massacres". 

The SNC, which groups the main currents of the opposition, also called for the removal of civilians from "areas that are under shelling and destruction". 

The group said Mr Al Assad's forces had "launched a large-scale attack" overnight on Sunday to yesterday on parts of Homs, and that "indiscriminate slaughter is being committed by the regime's militias". 

The army, which has sought to crush the protest movement that erupted in March, was "using heavy artillery, rocket launchers, and warplanes to bomb populated residential neighbourhoods" in Homs, it said. 
Homs is the only major city to remain outside the regime's control after military operations in Hama, north-eastern Deir Ezzor and the cities of Latakia and Banias reined in the dissent. 

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said heavy artillery clashes erupted overnight between soldiers and presumed army defectors in Homs, leaving "dozens of dead and wounded in both camps". "Shooting could be heard in Homs where neighbourhoods came under heavy machine-gun fire at dawn," the human-rights agency said in a statement, adding "more than 40 explosions were heard". 

One citizen was killed in the Homs neighbourhood of Deir Baalba after "being shot by Syrian security forces", said the agency, adding soldiers had also entered Baba Amro district and "started demolishing shops". Residents there saw a lorry "filled with corpses". 

Elsewhere in Homs province, an eight-year-old girl was killed and a woman wounded after security forces stationed at a checkpoint in the Hula area "fired indiscriminately", the agency said. In Damascus province, a 63-year-old man succumbed to his wounds after being shot by security forces the previous day, the rights watchdog said. In the city of Banias, worshippers leaving from Al Radwan mosque staged a rally calling for the "fall of the regime" and the "execution of the president". Security forces responded by raiding the homes surrounding the mosque. 

The UN estimates more than 3,000 people have been killed across Syria in the security crackdown since anti-regime protests erupted in mid-March.

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