Houla massacre: UN, Syria trade accusations
28 May 2012, 09:54
New York - The Security Council met on Sunday to discuss the recent
massacre in the Syrian town of Houla, which the UN has blamed on the
Syrian government, but Damascus and Moscow suggested was due to a rebel
At least 116 people, including many children, were killed
in the Houla attack, the head of the UN observer mission in Syria,
General Robert Mood, told the 15-nation council, according to a
diplomat who was in the closed-door meeting. The diplomat spoke to
Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Russian Deputy UN Ambassador
Alexander Pankin told reporters Moscow was skeptical about suggestions
that the government was behind the massacre, saying it appeared most of
the victims were killed with knives or shot at point-blank range.
British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, however, disagreed.
"It seems quite clear that the massacre in Houla was caused by heavy
bombardment, by government artillery and tanks," he said ahead of the
Diplomats said they hoped to agree on some kind of
condemnation of the massacre, though Russia was clearly at odds with the
Western powers regarding who was to blame.
The emergency council
meeting was called after Russia rejected a French and British proposal
for a statement condemning the massacre, diplomats said on condition of
Moscow, which remains a staunch ally of Syrian
President Bashar al-Assad, told other members of the 15-nation council
that it wanted a briefing from Mood before agreeing to a statement,
Mood spoke to the Security Council via a video-link from Damascus.