U.N. Security Council condemns Syria army attack in Houla | The Los Angeles Times
By Patrick J. McDonnell
The U.N. Security Council on Sunday condemned Syrian army artillery and tank barrages on a civilian neighborhood where 108 people, most of them women and children, were killed, suggesting in a carefully worded statement that government forces were largely responsible.
As international outrage escalated, some viewed the carnage as a possible turning point in the conflict. The government and opposition groups exchanged blame for the massacre Friday in the township of Houla in western Homs province.
The Security Council, meeting in an emergency session, said the “outrageous use of force against [the] civilian population” is a violation of a U.N. peace plan. It called on the government and its opponents to end violence, the U.N. said.
The statement was approved after a lengthy discussion withRussia, an ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Russia, which holds a veto and has thwarted any U.N.-backed international intervention in Syria, gave its assent to a statement that distanced the Syrian government from the killings of those in Houla who died from shooting at close range or as a result of “severe physical abuse.”
The U.N. said a new count indicated that 108 people were killed in Houla, including 49 children and 34 women. How many died from government shelling and how many perished from other causes was not clear.
Photo: Bulent Kilic/ Getty Images