Syrian opposition appeals for Arab League and UN reaction as activists say up to 200 people killed in restive province
First watch the video, published on Al Jazeera, 2.28 min., by Zeina Khodr, December 21, 2011.
Syrian security forces appear to be continuing an offensive on army defectors in the northwestern province of Idlib in which activists say about 200 people, including a large number of civilians, have already been killed.
The Syrian National Council SNC, the umbrella group representing opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government, on Wednesday called for “immediate action” by the Arab League and the UN Security Council to condemn and halt what it called “horrific massacres” conducted by Syrian forces in Idlib and other areas.
Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr, reporting from the Turkish city of Antakya, along the border with Syria, said the Syrian military’s operations had been focused on Idlib because it was attempting to regain control over what had become a stronghold for army defectors … //
Reports of the unrest are difficult to verify because communications to the region have mostly been shut down. Many people in the province also lack electricity and water, according to activists.
Alaa El Din Al Youssef, a Syrian opposition member in Idlib, described the government’s attack on the area of Jabal al-Zawaiya on Tuesday as a “massacre”.
“Civilians were surrounded by security forces who killed 100 of us. The corpses of those killed were left in the streets and the mosques and we are not allowed to bury any of them.”
“Some of those killed cannot be recognised. Some were burnt and some beheaded with their hands tied. We are really scared because the area might be stormed once again.”
Al Jazeera cannot independently verify reports from Syria because of restrictions on reporting inside the country.
The latest fighting comes as the Arab League prepares to send a team of observers to Syria on Thursday as part of an effort to halt the violence.
Syria agreed to move on Monday after the Arab group threatened to submit the issue to the UN Security Council.
Ahmed bin Helli, the league’s deputy secretary-general, said he hoped the mission would enable a resolution to the crisis to be found without any need for international intervention.
But Khodr said the SNC’s latest statement suggested they had lost patience with the Arab League initiative.
“The SNC now thinks the Arab League should work on ways to topple the government, and not work on peace plans because for them that is no longer on the table,” our correspondent said. (full text).
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