Middle East

Syria blames Al-Qaeda, criticizes Turkey in letter to U.N.

A boy inspects his house which rebels said was damaged by President Bashar al-Assad forces in the Ma'ar Shamarine village near Idlib January 15, 2013. REUTERS/Ghaith Taha

DAMASCUS: Syria's regime accused Al-Qaeda of being behind a deadly attack in Hama and criticised Turkey for sheltering what it called "terrorists," in a message to the UN aired by state television Tuesday.

"Armed terrorist groups headed by Al-Qaeda targeted citizens yesterday in the town of Salmiyeh in a cowardly terrorist act and destroyed the national hospital," the foreign ministry said in a letter to the UN secretary general and head of the Security Council.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 42 people, both civilians and pro-regime militiamen, were killed Monday when a suicide car bomb struck a building used by paramilitary forces in Salmiyeh, in the central province of Hama.

"Terrorists are arriving in Syria via neighbouring countries, including Turkey, which opens its doors unconditionally to all terrorists of the world to penetrate Syria," the letter read.

"Damascus once again calls on the UN Security Council to condemn these terrorist acts committed on our soil, and calls for countries that are opposed to reconsider their positions, which do not serve world security and peace."

The anti-regime revolt, which broke out in March 2011 as a peaceful uprising and transformed into an armed insurgency under brutal repression, has left more than 60,000 people dead according to the UN, the majority civilians.





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