The United Nations said its monitors in Syria were fired upon yesterday and prevented from accessing the site of a new killing, as UN chief Ban Ki-moon warned of an “imminent” threat of civil war.
The United Nations said its four-vehicle convoy was hit by small arms fire in the nearby protest hub of Hama while en route to Al-Kubeir. A vehicle was damaged but the observers were unhurt.
“The patrol was forced to withdraw to a nearby government checkpoint,” said UN spokesman Farhan Haq. “The monitors were not able to enter Al-Kubeir today. They will try again tomorrow.”
Ban told a later UN Security Council meeting that heavy weapons, armor-piercing bullets and surveillance drones had all been used against UN observers to hamper their efforts to monitor the worsening conflict.
Regime forces are accused of bombarding the tiny settlement of Al-Kubeir before pro-militia thugs went on an afternoon killing spree, hacking, stabbing and shooting residents.
Damascus denied responsibility for the killing and, as it has done repeatedly in the past, pointed the finger at “terrorists” backed by foreign forces.
“A terrorist group committed a heinous crime in the Hama region which claimed nine victims. The reports by the media are contributing to spilling the blood of Syrians,” state media said.
Expressing horror at the latest killing, Annan told the major powers that it was time to threaten “clear consequences” if Assad does not act to halt the strife.
The international envoy, who secured Assad’s agreement to a six-point peace plan, grimly told the UN General Assembly: “I must be frank and confirm that the plan is not being implemented.”
He warned that without change in Syria, “the future is likely to be one of brutal repression, massacres, sectarian violence and even all-out civil war.”