U.N. Peacekeeper Chief Herve Ladsous: “Syria Is in a State of Civil War”
News about Syria sinking into civil war have come over the past few days as the negotiations for peace seem to have failed on all fronts. The international human rights watchdog Amnesty International on Thursday announced that the Syrian governmental forces are systematically killing civilians in organized attacks on villages and towns.
The organization is basing its allegations on the reports from 20 locations in the northwest of Syria and ascertained that these killings amount to crimes against humanity, thereby refreshing their calls to the United Nations to refer the case to the International Criminal Court and to impose arms embargo.
Amnesty report is a 72-page paper based on research in 23 towns and villages in Aleppo and Idlib provinces in April and May. 200 people were interviewed on the occasion, including many whose relatives had been killed or whose homes have been destroyed.
Euronews cites AI adviser Donatella Rovera to have said that everywhere in the places she visited she could find the same pattern: many soldiers coming for short but brutal incursions in the villages, shooting young men, burning their houses down, and taking others to detention in places where they are expected to be tortured.
Rovera said that the majority of these actions are being committed by governmental security forces and their paramilitary militia. Most of those who were killed, she said, were shown by the evidence not to have any connection to the military resistance to Assad’s regime.
Army is said by a resident in a northern province to have considered all the young people members of the resistance, while some were killed because the really rebels could not be found. Amnesty considers that the killing in Syria is being carried out in a systematic manner, organized and as part of a state policy, which can be construed as crimes against humanity.
On Tuesday, the U.N. under-secretary for peacekeeping operations Herve Ladsous officially declared, in his capacity of top senior U.N. official, that Syria was in a civil war, which, according to the Euronews, could mean that Assad could be prosecuted for the way the rebels are handled, according to the Geneva convention for prisoners of war.
Ladsous told BBC that the governmental troops have lost “large chunks” of territory and several cities to the rebels and wants to take them back.
On Thursday, China renewed its support for the plan of political mediation supported by the U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, in spite of the fact that none of the Western countries believe that it could actually work after it has been breached on many occasions since April 12, when the ceasefire went into effect.
During a regular briefing, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said his country was opposing the sanctions against Syria and believed that the issue could be settled by other means than economic sanctions.
The spokesman also referred to the French plan issued by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Wednesday, according to which France will propose offering the U.N. the power to enforce the six-point plan of Kofi Annan, including the possibility of establishing a no-fly zone.
China repeated its call for all the parties involved in the Syrian conflict to put an end to it but reiterated on various occasions its opposition to the idea of calling for the removal of Bashar al-Assad, or to the military intervention in Syria.
Russia, the other powerful supporter of the regime in Damascus, has called for the political solution of the conflict, throwing its support behind Annan’s plan and his newest proposition related to establishing a contact group to include all permanent members of the Security Council and the powerhouses in the region of the Middle East.
Some diplomats said that the plan would have as objective a ceasefire obtained by means of a deal brokered the same way the deal in Yemen was brokered last year, allowing Assad to leave power and the country.
There were speculations that he could be going in exile in Russia or Iran, both of which countries made no comment on such a possibility. Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman offered the perspective of a new state created along the coast of Mediterranean by Assad’s Alawite loyal forces.
Zaman’s analysis is supported by the opinion of many Syrian people, who think that the pounding of the zones in the mountains next to the Mediterranean is intended of driving all Sunnis out of the area so that it may become a state for Alawites, which are a sect of Shiite Islam.
Earlier in the week, Israel, which has kept silence on the Arab Spring movement for the past year, stepped forward accusing the Syrian atrocities, blaming the government in Damascus and demanding an international intervention in the restive country.
As Russia says that it is not “married” to Assad’s regime and that it is only the Syrian people it is protecting, accusations surfaced that Russia would be offering the Syrian army attack helicopter, prompting the Syrian ambassador to Moscow to dismiss such accusations formulated on Tuesday by U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton.
The same official confirmed that Russia was printing Syrian currency, thus proving its support for the Arab nation at a time when the Western nations declined to do so.11