Syria: Arab League Summit Initiatives Will Be Rejected
DAMASCUS, March 28 (Reuters) - Damascus will reject any initiative made at an Arab League summit relating to the violence in Syria, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Wednesday, adding it would only deal with Arab countries individually.
Syria was suspended from the league in November over a violent crackdown on the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's rule that began a year ago and has claimed 9,000 lives.
The Arab League, meeting in Baghdad this week, is expected to issue a statement on Syria.
"Since its membership was suspended, Syria will only deal with Arab countries based on state-to-state relationships. Therefore we will not deal with any initiative issued by the Arab League at any level," spokesman Jihad Makdisssi said in a statement released to journalists.
Syria blames the unrest on foreign-backed militants that it says have killed around 3,000 members of the security forces.
Relations between the Arab bloc and Damascus further soured after the Arab League froze a monitoring mission in Syria and proposed a plan for Assad to make a transition from power.
Arab leaders in Baghdad are expected to endorse a six-point proposal from U.N.-Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan, which seeks a ceasefire and political dialogue in what Iraq called a "last chance" for Syria.
Arab foreign ministers at the summit on Wednesday called for action on the plan. Annan said on Tuesday that Assad had agreed to the proposal, which does not demand the Syrian leader step down, a sticking point for the Syrian opposition which insists any deal must require Assad to leave power. (Reporting by Marwan Makdesi; Editing by Susan Fenton)
U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice tweets:
|@ AmbassadorRice : #Syria regime turned artillery, tanks and helicopters on its own men & women. It unleashed knife-wielding shabiha gangs on its own children.|
Russia says international envoy Kofi Annan will visit Moscow on Monday to discuss the ongoing crisis in Syria. Russia also called for an inquiry into an alleged massacre that took place in the village of Tramseh on Thursday. "We have no doubt that this wrongdoing serves the interests of those powers that are not seeking peace but persistently seek to sow the seeds of interconfessional and civilian conflict on Syrian soil," Russia's foreign ministry said in a statement, according to Reuters. Moscow did not apportion blame for the killings.
Read more on Reuters.com.
The Associated Press obtained a video that purports to show the aftermath of an alleged massacre in the village of Tramseh, near Hama.
How do Syria's fighters get their arms? An overview put together by Reuters explains that there are three gateways to the country -- Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq.
Syrian rebels are smuggling small arms into Syria through a network of land and sea routes involving cargo ships and trucks moving through Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq, maritime intelligence and Free Syrian Army (FSA) officers say. Western and regional powers deny any suggestion they are involved in gun running. Their interest in the sensitive border region lies rather in screening to ensure powerful weapons such as surface to air missiles do not find their way to Islamist or other militants.
Read the full report here.
This citizen journalism image made from video provided by Shaam News Network SNN, purports to show a man mourning a victim killed by violence that, according to anti-regime activists, was carried out by government forces in Tremseh, Syria about 15 kilometers (nine miles) northwest of the central city of Hama, Thursday, July 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network, SNN)
According to the Hama Revolutionary Council, a Syrian opposition group, more than 220 people have been killed in a new alleged massacre in Taramseh. Earlier reports said more than 100 people were killed. "More than 220 people fell today in Taramseh," the Council said in a statement. "They died from bombardment by tanks and helicopters, artillery shelling and summary executions."
Fadi Sameh, an opposition activist from Taramseh, told Reuters he had left the town before the reported massacre but was in touch with residents. "It appears that Alawite militiamen from surrounding villages descended on Taramseh after its rebel defenders pulled out, and started killing the people. Whole houses have been destroyed and burned from the shelling," Sameh claimed.
Read more on Reuters.com.
Syrian activist Rami Jarrah tweets that Syrian State TV has confirmed deaths in Tremseh. "Terrorists" is often the term used by the Syrian regime for opposition forces.
|@ AlexanderPageSY : Syrian State TV: clashes between security apparatus & terrorists in #Tremseh of #Hama leaves large numbers of terrorists killed #Syria|
|@ Reuters : UPDATE: DEATH TOLL IN SYRIAN FORCES' ATTACK ON VILLAGE IN SYRIA'S HAMA REGION IS MORE THAN 200, MOSTLY CIVILIANS - OPPOSITION ACTIVISTS|