BEIRUT: Prime Minister Najib Mikati and former Prime Minister Saad Hariri condemned Friday a new massacre near the Syrian city of Hama, which opposition activists say killed up to 200 civilians.
The Syrian regime and opposition activists traded blame for Thursday’s mass killings in the village of Tremseh. “Violence struck again in Syria, causing more victims and wounded, without sparing children, women and elderly. This calls for a collective conscientious stance to halt the spreading violence in Syria,” Mikati said in a statement released by his office.
“Lebanon, which has experienced in the past a long war that cost it the lives of its people and its economic and development structures, condemns resorting to violence and bloodshed,” Mikati said.
He did not blame the Syrian regime or the rebels for the massacre.
However, Hariri, who strongly supports the 16-month uprising against President Bashar Assad’s rule, blamed the regime for the massacre and called for U.N. and Arab action to protect the Syrian people.
“The new brutal massacre committed by the Syrian regime in Tremseh, Hama, set a new record in terms of crimes against humanity and unarmed civilians of the Syrian people,” Hariri said in a statement.
“This new massacre leaves no room for any hesitation by the Arab and international community to confront Bashar Assad and his killer regime, which sinks day after day in the blood of the innocent and heroic Syrian people,” Hariri said.
The head of the opposition Future Movement added that the Assad regime had become “a disgrace and a landmark in suppression and crimes unprecedented in our modern Arab history.”
Hariri called on foreign governments as well as the U.N. Security Council, the Arab League and the Islamic Cooperation Organization to take “firm, quick and practical measures to protect the Syrian people, impose the most effective sanctions on the tyrant’s regime and undo the brutal killing machine he is using against the Syrian people.”
The attack was also condemned by former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, head of the parliamentary Future bloc.
Separately, Hariri met Friday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at his residence in the Saudi city of Jeddah.
Discussions focused on the situation in the Palestinian territories, and on refugees living in Lebanon, said a statement from Hariri’s office.
“The talks also tackled Arab and regional developments in general and the situation in Syria in particular in light of the brutal massacres committed by the Syrian regime against the Syrian people who are calling for freedom, democracy and a decent life,” it added.