Syrian President Assad condemns Houla massacre

Sunday, June 03, 2012
Photo released by the Syria's official news agency SANA, 
shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, 
delivers a speech at the Parliament in Damascus on Sunday
Damascus: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has condemned "abominable" massacre in Houla and denied neither he nor his government had anything to do with the massacre; saying not even "monsters" would carry out such an act. 

In his speech to Syrian Parliament Assad reiterated many of his earlier pledges to maintain a crackdown on opponents he said Syria is facing a foreign plot to destroy the country.

The Syrian leader made the comment about last month's brutal massacre in Houla that left more than 100 people dead, including 49 children, in his first address to parliament since elections in May.

Annan said the "spectre of all-out war" in Syria grows by the day. He said recent atrocities show the conflict is quickly spiralling out of control. 

The Arab League has called for the U.N. Security Council to replace its almost 300 monitors in Syria with peacekeepers. 

Fighting broke out late Friday across the Syrian border in the northern Lebanese port city of Tripoli, killing nine people, including civilians, and wounding more than 30.  Lebanese officials say the clashes were between pro-Assad and anti-Assad militiamen.

It is remarkable that Syria's Homs province has once again experienced violence. A video distributed by activists showed an injured woman, who said she had survived the Houla massacre, blaming members of  Assad’s shabbiha militia for the carnage.

French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron discussed Syria by phone, condemning the “senseless murderous brutality of the Damascus regime” as a threat to regional security. While both endorsed the Annan plan, they also called for an “orderly democratic transition” for Syria.

The Syrian National Council, the main umbrella group of exiled opposition figures, made its strongest call yet for foreign intervention.
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