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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

2/17/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Government continues to shell, batter civilian population

NATO will not intervene in the ongoing Syrian conflict, despite reports of escalating violence in parts of the country and the adoption of a U.N. resolution condemning human-rights violations by the government. Security forces continue to batter and shell the civilian population in residential areas for the 13th straight day.

Bashar Jaafari, Syria's ambassador to the U.N., criticized the Arab sponsors of the resolution, saying Western powers had exploited them to 'internationalize' the crisis. 'The Arab Trojan horse has been unmasked today,' he said.

Bashar Jaafari, Syria's ambassador to the U.N., criticized the Arab sponsors of the resolution, saying Western powers had exploited them to "internationalize" the crisis. "The Arab Trojan horse has been unmasked today," he said.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/17/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: NATO, Syria, civilian fatalities, conflict. United Nations


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Gunfire and loud explosions were heard on in the capital of Damascus. Activist groups said tens of thousands of protesters poured into the streets after weekly prayers, from Deraa in the south to Aleppo and Idlib in the north and Deir el-Zour in the east.

An umbrella organization of opposition groups, the Local Co-ordination Committees say that security forces opened fire on some protesters, which came in response to a call by Internet-based activists for a rally for a "new phase of popular resistance,"

The U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly backed an Arab League initiative calling on President Bashar al-Assad to step down, shortly before a visit by a Chinese diplomatic envoy. Chinese vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun has reiterated that China opposes armed intervention and forced "regime change" in Syria.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a U.K.-based opposition group, said that at least 10,000 people demonstrated in the southern town of Dael, in Deraa. The areas is the cradle of the uprising which human rights groups say has cost more than 6,000 lives in the past 11 months.

The ongoing violence in Syria came just hours after the General Assembly demanded an immediate halt to Assad's military crackdown. A strongly worded resolution adopted by a 137-12 vote on Thursday, member states demanded the government stop attacking civilian demonstrators and start pulling troops back to barracks. Seventeen members abstained, with no vetoes allowed.

The resolution calls on Syria "to stop all violence or reprisals immediately, in accordance with the League of Arab States initiative." The initiative refers to a peace plan put forward by the regional body calling on Assad to hand power over to his deputy and for the formation of a unity government ahead of elections.

Russia, China and Iran have opposed the non-binding resolution, shortly after China and Russia vetoed a similar resolution at the U.N. Security Council.

Egypt's deputy U.N. ambassador Osama Abdelkhalek said the General Assembly had sent an "unambiguous message" to Syria. "It is high time to listen to the voice of the people," he said.

Bashar Jaafari, Syria's ambassador to the U.N., criticized the Arab sponsors of the resolution, saying Western powers had exploited them to "internationalize" the crisis.

"The Arab Trojan horse has been unmasked today," he said.

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