Lebanon News

Hezbollah, Mikati condemn killings in Syria’s Houla

Prime Minister Najib Mikati at a reception held in his honor by the Lebanese community in Brussels. 4/27/2012. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra)

BEIRUT: Hezbollah and Prime Minister Najib Mikati condemned Sunday the killings of at least 92 people Friday in the Syrian town of Houla which have sparked an international outcry. Syrian opposition activists blamed President Bashar Assad’s regime for the killings, whose victims were mostly women and children in Homs’ Houla province Friday in one of the most deadly incidents of the uprising.

In a rare statement of condemnation, Hezbollah denounced the killings but did not lay the blame on any group.

The Syrian government Sunday denied that its forces were responsible for the killings, and blamed “terrorists.”

“Hezbollah expresses its pain toward the horror of the terrible massacre committed in Houla of Homs, and it strongly condemns this massacre and those responsible for it,” Hezbollah said in a statement.

The party, which has stood by the Assad regime throughout the uprising, has called for the implementation of political reform and dialogue in Syria.

“Hezbollah has repeatedly stated its stance on the Syrian crisis, and it affirms that dialogue and peaceful political solution are the only way out of the crisis. The party also reiterates [the need to] adopt dialogue away from foreign intervention, which is the only way to achieve the desired reforms,” Hezbollah’s statement added.

Mikati, who heads the Hezbollah-backed March 8 Cabinet, denounced the violence in Houla and other Syrian cities, saying that the killing of children constitutes a crime against humanity.

“Killing children is a crime against humanity and it is unacceptable to remain silent because the horrific scenes that resulted from this massacre are a bad stain on all humanity,” Mikati said in a statement.

Mikati called for boosting Arab and international efforts to end the crisis and violence in Syria.

The Future Movement also condemned the massacre in a statement Sunday, accusing the Syrian regime of a “terrorist act” that constitutes a crime against humanity.

“The Syrian regime has lost its legitimacy by responding to calls for reform with shelling, the use of tanks and shabbiha on the streets,” the statement said.

“This pressures the international community, the Arab world and the Muslim world to move quickly to end the madness of the regime’s forces against civilians and children.”

For his part, former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, the head of the Future bloc, accused the Assad regime of a massacre and called on the world to put an end to the daily killings of the Syrian people.

“The pictures of the bodies of children, sheikhs and women in this terrifying massacre, which according to international observers the Syrian regime committed against this city with its tanks, can only be tolerated by those who have lost all of their emotions and human conscience,” Siniora said.

According to Siniora, the Syrian regime has exploited the presence of the United Nations cease-fire observers to continue its oppression of the Syrian people.

“This regime is continuing to use violence despite its repeated failure ... meaning that the regime has lost its touch with reality and with the simplest humanitarian and moral values,” he said.

Following the adoption of a six-point peace plan by United Nations Special Envoy Kofi Annan, dozens of international observers were sent to Syria to monitor a cease-fire between Assad’s regime and the rebel Free Syrian Army.

Siniora also said that the Arab world and the international community should do more to end the bloodbath in Syria.

“They should do more than denunciations. What is required is a plan that would put an end to this river of blood.”

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on May 28, 2012, on page 3.




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