UNITED NATIONS, June 28 (Reuters) - Syria's U.N. envoy said on Thursday that "terrorists" in his country were using foreign communications technology, a clear swipe at U.S. support for opposition groups fighting for the past 16-months to oust President Bashar al-Assad.
"Terrorists have been using information and communication technologies provided openly by some of those countries that suffered from the scourge," Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari told a U.N. General Assembly debate on counter-terrorism.
"Unfortunately these countries call this technology a non-lethal weapon," he said.
President Barack Obama's administration has said it is giving the Syrian opposition logistical and communications help, but it has shied away from providing arms, in part out of concern about the rebels' organization.
Rebel forces attacked Syria's main court in central Damascus on Thursday, and dozens of wrecked and burning cars were strewn over a car park used by lawyers and judges.
Damascus has maintained all along that it is facing a "terrorist" conspiracy funded and directed from abroad, not least by resource-rich Gulf monarchies Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which have called for arming the fighters aiming to oust Assad.
"Some of these organized terrorist acts bear the fingerprints of the al Qaeda organization and its ideology in terms of killing, dismemberment and mutilation of bodies and the killing of entire families on a sectarian basis," Ja'afari said.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said he believed al Qaeda was responsible for two suicide car bombs in Damascus in May that killed at least 55 people.
Earlier this week U.N. peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous told the Security Council that Damascus has forbidden the unarmed U.N. observer mission in Syria from using satellite phones, which he said was a key tool for the monitors. The mission has suspended most of its work due to the worsening violence.
The United Nations has said more than 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict, which began as peaceful pro-democracy protests. (Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Vicki Allen)
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|