The United Nations has strongly condemned the massacre of at least 92 civilians, including 32 children, in a village near Homs in Syria, leading global calls for urgent action against those responsible for the ” appalling an
d brutal crime.” Observers from the UN Supervision Mission in Syria ( UNSMIS) confirmed the horrific killings after having viewed the bodies in the village of Houla, They also confirmed from an examination of ordnance that artillery and tank shells were fired at a residential neighbourhood.
” This appalling and brutal crime involving indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force is a flagrant violation of international law and of the commitments of the Syrian government to cease the use of heavy weapons in population centres and violence in all its form,” said a statement issued on behalf of UN Secretary- General Ban Ki- moon and the Joint Special Envoy of the UN and the League of Arab States for Syria, Kofi Annan. ” Those responsible for perpetrating this crime must be held to account,” it added. The Secretary- General and the Joint Special Envoy extended their profound sympathies to the families of the victims and to the wounded, underscoring their grave concern about the lack of protection for civilians in Syria.
General Robert Mood, the head of UNSMIS, issued a statement in which he said that UN observers went to Houla, where they counted more than 32 children under the age of 10 and over 60 adults killed. ” The circumstances that led to these tragic killings are still unclear,” the statement noted, while adding that whoever is responsible for this ” deplorable act of violence” should be held accountable.