UN Monitors Reach Site of Hama Massacre
Yesterday the US and Syria both made statements on the deteriorating situation in Syria. The White House condemned the recent killings in Hama province and the Syrian government’s previous refusal to allow UN observers access to the site to investigate. Iran also condemned the violence in Hama and Houla but cautioned against “rushing to any judgment that the Syrian Government is behind the killings and therefore Kofi Annan’s plan is dead.” For his part, Kofi Annan said Thursday that he wanted Iran to be involved in any resolution to the conflict. As of today, UN monitors were finally able to reach the site of the massacre at Hama, as reports of fresh fighting elsewhere in the country came in, and anti-government protests erupted in Damascus. Syrian troops have reportedly shelled a neighborhood in Homs held by rebels.
Meanwhile, Channel 4 News chief correspondent Alex Thomson claimed that Syrian rebels tried to lead him into a trap in an effort to discredit the Syrian regime. ”I’m quite clear the rebels deliberately set us up to be shot by the Syrian army,” Thompson said. Dead journos are bad for Damascus.”
Elliot Abrams writes that there is a lack of leadership and determination from the White House on the Syria issue, while Ivan Eland contends that the US should take a hands-off approach and let regional powers such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia sort out the situation. Hassan Hassan writes in The National that diplomacy has not yet failed, and the UN mission to Syria “is essential in building an international consensus to exert more pressure on Damascus.”