Monday, April 23, 2012

Surprise! UN observers aren't stopping Syrian atrocities

Al Arabiya reports:
Syrian forces shelled several neighborhoods in Homs as it continued to violate the shaky ceasefire, Al Arabiya reported citing Syrian activists. The government forces launched a wide scale attack on al-Bukamal neighborhood early Monday, killing four people, the Syrian Shaam News Network reported.

The attack comes one day after the violent military operations carried out by the government forces in the Damascus suburb of Duma and in Deraa on Sunday, which killed at least 22 people, according to the Syrian General Revolution Commission.

Internet video footage that activists said was filmed in Duma on Sunday showed grey smoke rising from buildings and the sound of heavy gunfire in the background. One clip showed soldiers in helmets and bullet-proof vests next to a tank.

The official news agency SANA made no mention of fighting in Duma but said that at least one officer was killed by a bomb that struck a convoy of army officers and cadets in the northern province of Aleppo. Another bomb targeted a freight train transporting flour in Idlib province, it said.

Shaam reported two strong explosions in al-Khaldeya neighborhood on Sunday, despite the presence of the U.N. peace monitors.

A small group of unarmed observers has been operating in Syria for a week, overseeing a 10-day-old truce agreement that has curbed some of the violence but failed to bring a complete halt to 13 months of bloodshed.

In Damascus, Syrian government forces shot at protesters in Nahr Aysha; while two massive demonstrations went out in Kafr Soussa from al-Fateh and Bilal al-Habashy mosques on Sunday night. The two protests later merged together, Al Arabiya reported, citing Syrian activists.

On Sunday a group of monitors visited the central city of Hama and nearby town of Rastan. Internet video footage which activists said was filmed in Rastan showed observers walking through the town accompanied by rebel fighters.

In Hama, activists said soldiers opened fire at protesters right after the U.N. observers left the Arbaeen neighborhood. There were no immediate reports of casualties in the city.
Here's a video of UN observers actually being fired upon in Homs Saturday night according to the uploader.

To no one's surprise except perhaps the clueless UN, these observers are no more effective than the Arab League observers from December and January.

(h/t Yoel)