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article imageSyria repudiates U.N. heavy weapons claim

By Paul Iddon     Jul 15, 2012 in Politics
Syrian officials have denied statements made by peace envoy Kofi Annan which claim that Syrian forces used heavy weaponry against activists in the village of Tremseh.
Reports from Al Jazeera, BBC News and Reuters state that Mr. Annan's statements regarding the Syrian military's use of heavy weaponry and helicopter gunships was "rushed." Syria claims that armed clashes occurred, not a massacre citing a death toll of some 37, a far cry from the death toll of 220 that the opposition claimed.
The spokesman for Syria's Foreign Ministry Jihad Makdissi stated that "government forces did not use planes, or helicopters, or tanks or artillery. The heaviest weapon used was an RPG." He went on to state that a letter they received from Mr. Annan addressing Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem "did not rely on facts." Mr. Makdissi continued to state that "as diplomatically as possible, we say that this letter was very rushed."
Mr. Makdissi went on to claim that five buildings sheltering "armed terrorists" were targeted by Syrian forces. He also claimed that the area attacked was to small for tanks to operate. His claim firmly remains that "it was not a massacre but a response by regular military forces against heavily armed groups that do not want a political solution."
The spokesperson for the United Nations Syrian observer mission Sausan Ghosheh stated the U.N. force is in Damascus and that they "can confirm that there was a military operation on July 12th on Thursday. The attacks appeared targeted towards specific homes of activists as well as army defectors. UN team observed homes which had pools of blood and blood splatters in some of the rooms as well as empty bullet cases. There was a wide range of weapons used including heavy weapon and artillery mortars and small arms."
Mr. Makdissi stated that if heavy weaponry was indeed used during the clash it was used by the rebel forces.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has stated that it has names of 103 people dead in the massacre, including some 50 rebel fighters.
Since this uprising began in March of 2011 some 16,000 are estimated to have lost their lives.
More about Syria, United Nations, Tremseh, Kofi annan
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