Houla massacre
Photo: AP

Syria: Anti-gov't groups committed Houla massacre

Government-appointed investigation committee says victims were families 'who refused to oppose the government'; massacre aimed at encouraging foreign intervention

Syria said on Thursday a preliminary investigation showed that anti-government armed groups committed a massacre last week in Houla, in which 108 people were killed, with the aim of encouraging foreign military intervention against the Syrian government.


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Brigadier General Qassem Jamal Suleiman, head of the investigation committee formed by the government, said the victims were families "who refused to oppose the government and were at odds with the armed groups."


He said many of the victims were relatives of a member of the Syrian parliament.


Syria also said it wanted international envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan to succeed in ending the violence so the 14-month-old crisis could be resolved through political dialogue.


Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi also called on opposition groups that reject foreign intervention to come to Syria for talks with the government.


US dismisses claims as 'blatant lie'

Meanwhile, US Ambassador Susan Rice dismissed Syria's investigation blaming rebel fighters for last week's massacre in Houla as "another blatant lie."


Rice told reporters Thursday "there is no factual evidence ... that would substantiate that rendition of events."


She said UN observers reported Syrian heavy weapons were used, and that "in all likelihood" pro-government shabiha militias were responsible for killing many people.


Rice said the UN Human Rights Council is considering an investigation of the Houla massacre.


Rice also noted that the arrival of a Russian ship reportedly loaded with arms at the Syrian port of Tartous doesn't violate international law but "it's reprehensible that arms would continue to flow to a regime that is using such horrific and disproportionate force against its own people."


Reuters and AP contributed to this story




פרסום ראשון: 05.31.12, 21:00
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