Arab League warns against ‘ethnic cleansing’ in Syria

Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Araby condemned on Saturday morning “the heinous crime committed against innocent civilians in the Tremseh in Hama province.”

In a statement on the Arab League website, Araby said “the responsibility for this crime rests with the Syrian government whose use of heavy weapons in this attack on citizens is confirmed, including artillery, tanks and helicopters.”

Araby warned of the existence of ethnic cleansing missions, such as those that previously took place in Houla.

He said, “There is no other choice for the [UN] Security Council, especially the permanent members, but to take responsibility and issue a binding resolution compelling the Syrian government to stop acts of violence and murder, implementing Security Council resolutions and Kofi Annan's [peace] plan, and starting the process of political transition to a free democratic system, as demanded by the Syrian people.”

“Action must be taken to protect Syrian civilians, and to try those responsible for these heinous crimes against humanity,” Araby said.

According to the the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and other opposition activists, about 220 Syrians, mostly civilians, were massacred in Tremseh village in the rebellious Hama region when it was attacked by the air force, artillary and infantry.

It is the worst single incident of violence in the 16 months of the Syrian uprising against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, in which more than 17,000 people have been killed so far, according to the observatory.

Russia and China, both veto-wielding permanent members of the UN Security Council, have for months blocked attempts to isolate and push out Assad, endorsing his argument that he is defending Syria against armed groups bent on ousting him with the backing of the West and allied Sunni monarchies in the Gulf.

Edited transaltion from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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