WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is expressing outrage that Syrian troops fired into a refugee camp in neighboring Turkey. It says the cross-border attack coupled with incidents elsewhere bodes ill for a U.N.-brokered plan to end the violence.
One day ahead of a deadline for Syrian forces to withdraw from cities under that plan, the White House and State Department said Monday that instead of improving, the situation was getting worse. They said Syrian President Bashar Assad's government appeared to have little commitment to the plan that was negotiated by former U.N. chief Kofi Annan.
"We certainly have seen no signs yet of the Assad regime abiding by its commitments," White House press secretary Jay Carney said.
"We strongly condemn any attack by the Syrian regime on refugees in bordering countries and were absolutely outraged by today's report," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said. "We join the Turkish government in calling for the Syrian regime to immediately cease fire."
"Not only has the violence not abated, it has been worse in recent days," she said.
There have been similar cross-border attacks into Lebanon, although Monday's shooting was believed to be the first inside Turkey.
Earlier Monday, Syrian forces wounded at least five people in the camp in Turkey. Syrian activists said two people were killed, but the reports could not be immediately confirmed.
The Syrian soldiers were believed to be firing at rebels who tried to escape to the refugee camp after ambushing a military checkpoint, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, citing a network of sources on the ground.
Turkey shelters thousands of refugees who have fled Syria as the government tries to crush a revolt against Assad. The U.N. estimates some 9,000 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising began in March 2011.
Nuland said there was no sign the government was removing heavy weaponry from populated areas as called for in the Annan plan. "We see no indication that it is preparing to do so. It's done some moving around of its tanks and artillery, but only so that it can use them in other places."
"We're going to wait till tomorrow; the deadline is tomorrow," she said. "But based on what we're seeing today, we are not hopeful."
Annan is due to report to the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday about the status of the plan.
On Wednesday, Syria is expected to be a major topic of discussion when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton hosts the foreign ministers of the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations meet in Washington. The ministers are meeting to prepare for the G8 leaders' summit to be held at the Camp David presidential retreat next month.
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|