Syria looks more like Bosnia than Libya, says William Hague
Foreign Secretary warns of descent into sectarian violence with village turning against village
BRITISH Foreign Secretary William Hague has said Syria might be more like Bosnia than Libya as sectarian violence pits village against village. His words followed claims of a new massacre in Hama province. Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said the Syrian government has lost its humanity and there are signs of a possible softening of Russia's position on regime change in the strife-torn country. Here are the latest developments:
SYRIA HAS 'LOST ITS FUNDAMENTAL HUMANITY'
Speaking to the United Nations yesterday after reports on the killings at Qubair came through, Ban Ki-moon said that the Syrian regime had "lost its fundamental humanity" and no longer had any legitimacy, The Guardian reports. The UN Secretary General added that the recent mass killings are "indicative of a pattern that may amount to crimes against humanity". He went on: "The Syrian people are bleeding. They are angry. They want peace and dignity. Above all, they all want action."
KOFI ANNAN URGES 'CONSEQUENCES'
The UN's envoy to Syria Kofi Annan warned that the country is now heading towards full-blown civil war and urged the divided UN council to threaten "consequences" if Assad doesn't stop the violence, The Daily Telegraph reports. For the first time Annan stated that his six-point peace plan is not being implemented. "Clearly, the time has come to determine what more can be done to secure implementation of the plan," Annan said.
RUSSIA 'NOT WEDDED TO ASSAD'
In a sign of a shift in Russia's pro-Damascus position, Vitaly Churkin, Moscow's ambassador to the United Nations, has told his Security Council counterparts that he could accept a political transition in Syria that resulted in Assad stepping down, The Washington Post reports. "We are not wedded to Assad. We have had that position from the start," Churkin said, according to a Security Council official present during a closed session. "If he had to go, as a result of a political process, we wouldn't be so upset."
SYRIA COULD BE 'MORE LIKE BOSNIA THAN LIBYA'
British Foreign Secretary William Hague has warned that Syria is "clearly on the edge" of a descent into deeper violence following the latest massacre. Hague called for more action from Russia and China, but sounded pessimistic about a peaceful resolution, The New York Times reports. "Syria is clearly on the edge... of deeper violence, of deep, sectarian violence, village against village, pro-government militias against opposition areas and of looking more like Bosnia in the 1990s than of Libya last year," Hague said.
UN PREVENTED FROM INVESTIGATING MASSACRE
Syrian government troops and their civilian supporters prevented unarmed UN monitors from entering the area west of Hama where the latest attacks took place, The Daily Telegraph reports. The UN observers were not fired upon at the checkpoint near Mazraat al-Qubair - although en-route, one vehicle was damaged by small arms fire – but were threatened with violence if they did not leave the area. Kieran Dwyer, spokesman for the UN peacekeeping department, said the convoy was forced to turn around and could not investigate claims of atrocities. ·