Syria Violence Kills 26 Children amid Push for War Crimes Probe

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  • W460
  • W460

At least 26 children were killed in violence in Syria on Monday, a watchdog said, fueling international calls for a war crimes probe into the 22-month conflict.

Reports of the child deaths came as Human Rights Watch accused President Bashar Assad's regime of expanding its use of banned cluster bombs.

Eight of the children were killed in an air strike on the town of Moadamiyat al-Sham, southwest of Damascus, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Five women were also killed.

"The children, all members of the same clan, were aged between six months and nine years old," said the head of the Britain-based Observatory, Rami Abdel Rahman.

State television blamed "terrorists" for the deaths.

Also near the capital, four other children were killed, including two siblings, the Observatory said.

Eight children were killed in the northern province of Aleppo -- five of them in an air strike.

Six more children died in other flashpoints in the strife-torn country.

The Observatory says that more than 3,500 children have been killed since the Syrian conflict erupted in March 2011. The United Nations says more than 60,000 people have died in all, while the Observatory reported at least 126 killed on Monday alone.

International medical organization Medecins Sans Frontieres condemned a Sunday air strike on the Aleppo province town of Aazaz that wounded 99 people.

"The attack... was particularly devastating as it came just two weeks after air strikes hit the city's health facilities, making it almost impossible for medical staff to cope with an emergency on this scale," MSF said.

On the diplomatic front, at least 57 governments called on the U.N. Security Council to refer the Syria conflict to the International Criminal Court for a war crimes investigation.

Switzerland sent a petition requesting the move to the 15-member council, the only body that can refer the case to the ICC but which is deeply divided over the conflict.

The signatories included many European governments as well as Libya and Tunisia, which both saw Arab Spring uprisings overthrow longstanding autocratic regimes.

The letter called on the Security Council to refer the Syria conflict for an ICC investigation "without exceptions and irrespective of the alleged perpetrators."

As Syria is not an ICC member, only a Security Council referral could start a war crimes investigation.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said other governments should sign up to the Swiss-led initiative.

"Human Rights Watch urged other states, particularly Arab states who have repeatedly voiced concern over the killings in Syria, to join the mounting calls for accountability," the organization said in a statement.

But diplomats said the council's divide on Syria is so deep that no move by the body is now possible.

Russia and China, both veto-wielding permanent council members, have refused to sign the petition.

On Sunday, Russia said Assad's removal from power was not a part of past international agreements on the crisis and so impossible to implement.

The wrangling comes amid warnings that the conflict, which according to the U.N. has sent more than 600,000 Syrians fleeing into neighboring countries, is growing more dangerous for civilians in the face of the regime's expanded use of cluster bombs.

Syria "is now resorting to a notoriously indiscriminate type of cluster munition that gravely threatens civilian populations," the director of HRW's arms division Steve Goose said in a statement.

U.N.-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who last week dismissed peace proposals by Assad as "one-sided", came in for more criticism from the Syrian authorities with government daily al-Thawra describing him as an "aging tourist".

Comments 14
Thumb jabalamel 14 January 2013, 11:02

how wanderfull is that syrian observatory, where were they when islamist groups massacred hundreds.

Missing mohammad_ca 14 January 2013, 15:39

where were you when ASSad massacred over 60000 and counting of his own people? keep watching dunya!

Thumb bigsami 14 January 2013, 16:54

Ya Habalamal.....your posts reflect ignorance seen from peasants. Oh btw....nice try schizo FARSI BSThrower. You think we don't know your pathetic schemes playing with your aliases. Mustool!

Thumb primesuspect 15 January 2013, 00:54

islamists groups massacred hundreds? if you're referring to hizballa, you're mistaken again, it's thousands!

Thumb jcamerican 14 January 2013, 11:58

We all know Bashar is a butcher, but never knew his strikes were surgical, just to harm children and women. Plus what amazes me is the activists are all lawyers and doctors, something HA should learn from, to have their people educated.

Thumb jabalamel 14 January 2013, 12:33

the filthy zionist scum trash worm cannot help itself to repeat his stupid lies, despite the fact that even his bosses from mossaf laugh at his lies.

Missing mohammad_ca 14 January 2013, 15:40

the report never said that they are the only victims but the fact that you overlook this shows how insensitive you are to the situation...

Thumb jabalamel 14 January 2013, 15:52

the filthy zionist scum talks about sensitivity ahahhahahahahahahahahahhahahaha

we see how sensitive you are to palestinians.

Thumb bigsami 14 January 2013, 16:57

Mohammad.....ignore posting back to the FARSI BSthrower and his aliases. It's a given...just follow past blogs and you will always see back/forth posts between himself and aliases aka Motormouth/ASSistance/Kaa Kaa Karim and now the latest one HABALamel. Conditioned regressed Farsi who has no place in Lebanon or the world for that matter.

Missing mohammad_ca 14 January 2013, 18:02

because that is the outrageous part ya zakzak...good to hear that airstrikes killing women and children is "drama" according to you. your true nature is coming out loud and clear.

Default-user-icon Boulos 1 (Guest) 14 January 2013, 17:38

I dont understand why Naharnet allows a debate to includes cursing fellow Lebanese and insults religion. Freedom of speech has limits, especialy on a respected forum.

Thumb shab 14 January 2013, 18:45

It's all a matter of time. Nothing lasts forever

Thumb kanaandian 15 January 2013, 00:17

Hard to tell who is honest here... both Assad and the Islamist are bloodthirsty mongrels.

Default-user-icon Greenie (Guest) 15 January 2013, 20:55

Big John !!!!
Blesss Hizbolla for keeping the south peaceful since 2006 ,Let s forget what they did before that.
Bless Bashar for keeping the Golan Heights peaceful for 40 years,and bless him for keeping lebanon peaceful for 25 years ,and bless him and his father for the way they have treated us lebanese.
Anything more i should add???ya big ya John?Ya sharaf ou Wafa !!!!