THE UN Security Council met yesterday to discuss the killing of at least 108 people in the Syrian town of Houla, a sign of mounting outrage at the massacre that the government and rebels blame on each other.
Images of bloodied and lifeless young bodies, lain carefully side by side after the onslaught on Friday, triggered shock around the world and underlined the failure of a six-week-old UN ceasefire plan to stop the violence.
Foreign secretary William Hague said Syria’s most senior diplomat in the UK will be summoned to the Foreign Office (FCO) today, to underline the government’s “absolute horror” at the atrocities. He also backed calls to ban regime members from the Olympics.
Western and Arab states opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad put the blame for the deaths squarely on the government.
Russia, which along with China, has vetoed Security Council resolutions calling for tougher action, said the “tragic” events in Syria deserve condemnation and called for a UN assessment of the violence there.
Russia’s deputy UN ambassador Alexander Pankin told reporters in Moscow was skeptical about suggestions that the Syrian government was behind the massacre, saying it appeared most of the victims were killed with knives or shot at point-blank range.
British ambassador Mark Lyall Grant disagreed, saying: “It seems quite clear that the massacre in Houla was caused by heavy bombardment, by government artillery and tanks.”