UN OBSERVERS TAKE ANOTHER ATTEMPT TO REACH SYRIA MASSACRE SCENE
- UN monitors are to try again on Friday, June 8 to reach the site of a new Syrian massacre after being shot at in their first attempt, after Kofi Annan urged united action to stop the crisis from spiralling out of control, AFP reported.
Anti-regime demonstrations were expected after weekly Muslim Friday prayers, activists said, including in the capital.
In a closed-door briefing to the UN Security Council, the UN-Arab League envoy called on world powers to warn President Bashar al-Assad's regime of "clear consequences" unless it abides by his widely flouted peace plan, a diplomat told AFP.
"The longer we wait, the darker the future looks for Syria," Annan was quoted as saying. Annan called for "united" and "substantial" pressure on Assad, and said there must be "real results soon or the crisis will spiral out of control."
His remarks came after at least 55 people were killed on Wednesday in an assault on Al-Kubeir, a Sunni farming enclave surrounded by Alawite villages in the central province of Hama, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
A convoy of UN observers was fired on when it tried to investigate the slaughter on Thursday and was set to make a new attempt to enter the village on Friday, the UN said.
According to preliminary evidence, Syrian soldiers had surrounded Al-Kubeir and militia had entered the village and killed civilians with "barbarity," UN chief Ban Ki-moon was quoted as telling the Security Council.
Damascus denied responsibility for the massacre and, as it has done repeatedly in the past, blamed foreign-backed "terrorists."
"A terrorist group committed a heinous crime in the Hama region which claimed nine victims. The reports by the media are contributing to spilling the blood of Syrians," state media said.
The new UN attempt to visit the site comes as Annan holds talks on Friday with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and as her Syria frontman meets Russian diplomats in a bid to persuade Moscow to back Assad's removal.
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