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Bloody week in Syria

Syria on Wednesday stormed out of a UN debate on a freshly critical report on the rights abuses in the conflict torn country. “We will not participate in this flagrantly political meeting,” said Syrian ambassador Faisal Khabbaz Hamoui before leaving the hall. Meanwhile, more than 15,800 people have been killed since the outbreak of the Syrian revolt 15 months ago, a human rights watchdog said on Wednesday, adding that the past seven days had been the bloodiest so far.

“The pace of the killings has escalated,” the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. “The last week was the bloodiest week of the Syrian Revolution,” Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP by telephone, adding that 916 people were killed from June 20 through 26. Of the 15,804 people killed since March last year, 4,681 had lost their lives since a UN-backed ceasefire was supposed to take effect on April 12, he said.

Of those, roughly a quarter — 1,197 — have been killed since the UN observer mission intended to oversee the peace plan suspended its operations on June 16 in the face of the mounting violence. “The last month, from May 26 to June 26, was the deadliest since the start of the protests. During this period, 3,426 people were killed,” Abdel Rahman said.

“The escalation of killings is due to the silence of the international community toward the crimes of the regime, its repression of the revolution, which has provoked violence from the opposition, and the unpunished shelling of towns and villages,” he added. Abdel Rahman’s comments came after 129 people were killed in violence on Tuesday, 79 of them civilians, according to the Observatory’s figures.

UN human rights investigators said on Wednesday that Syrian government forces may be responsible for the massacre of more than 100 people, including many women and children, in the area of Houla last month. “The commission of inquiry is unable to determine the identity of the perpetrators at this time; nevertheless the commission of inquiry considers that forces loyal to the government may have been responsible for many of the deaths,” commission chief Paulo Pinheiro told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

He said it was unlikely that rebel fighters carried out the attack to escalate the conflict and to punish government supporters, as it would have been difficult for them to access the crime scenes. However, Pinheiro’s panel did not rule out that foreign groups supporting anti-government fighters were responsible for the massacre on May 25. SAPA

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