BEIRUT: Top Lebanese officials denounced Thursday a string of alleged chemical attacks outside Damascus which are believed to have killed hundreds of people.
President Michel Sleiman expressed “his extreme alarm over the use of such weapons by any party and especially in a country neighboring Lebanon” and said he hoped the United Nations Security Council would “reach a tangible outcome concerning this issue.”
Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati denounced in the strongest terms “the killings in Syria, especially the recent massacre that took place in Ghouta,” a region near the capital.
“We can only ask for God’s mercy on those who were killed, after seeing such gruesome scenes,” Mikati said, adding that he hoped for “an urgent solution that ends the bloodbath in Syria.”
Chouf MP Walid Jumblatt, the head of the Progressive Socialist Party, questioned the “fate of Syria and its future after the regime has transformed it into a massive camp in which it practices acts of killing and criminality without being held accountable.”
In a statement, Jumblatt added: “How does this camp differ in any way from the Nazi camps in which mass murders were practiced in cold blood, determination and tenacity?”
“In what ways does this massacre differ from the massacres committed by Israel in Deir Yassine [in Palestine in 1948], Qana and Gaza and dozens of masscres in which innocent civilians were victimized?”
“Watching the gruesome scenes in rural Damascus, we have the right to question the world’s conscience ... [and how it can rise above] political disputes, international interests and regional considerations,” he added.
“We have the right to ask about the means of saving the Syrian people, at least from a human perspective instead of leaving it to face its fate alone,” Jumblatt said.
The Syrian opposition accused government forces of gassing hundreds of people by firing rockets that released deadly fumes over rebel-held Damascus suburbs, killing men, women, children and elderly as they slept.
Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam described the crime as one that should be condemned, “according to all moral and humanitarian criteria.”
In a statement issued by his office, he said “introducing chemical weapons into the conflict in Syria may have grave repercussions in the future.”
“There is a need for a serious and urgent international investigation into the circumstances of this crime,” the statement added, stressing “the importance of the international community confronting such acts and its perpetrators.”