Syrian govt. denies responsibility for massacre in Hama, gives rebels 24 hours to surrender
Damascus, June 7, (RHC), -- The government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has denied a report by the rebel Syrian National Council accusing its forces of killing 100 people in the west-central province of Hama.
In a televised statement the Syrian government said what media had reported on what happened in al-Qubeir, in the Hama region was completely false, blaming the bloodshed on armed terrorist groups.
It also said only nine people were killed in the attack, conflicting with the opposition report of a hundred victims.
The statement was issued after the opposition Syrian National Council claimed that forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad “massacred” about 100 people, including 20 women and 20 children, in the village of al-Qubeir on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Assad government has reportedly given a 24-hours period to anti-government militants to turn in their weapons, warning of a military offensive against the armed gangs after the deadline expires.
Al-Assad has allegedly informed the UN-Arab League envoy, Kofi Annan, of the warning in a letter, according to an unconfirmed source.
The letter has made it clear that a military offensive against militants will follow the 24-hour deadline. The UN has given no response to the letter yet.
Violence has escalated in Syria since the UN-brokered ceasefire came into effect weeks ago.
Thousands, including members of security forces, have been killed in the turmoil that began in Syria in March 2011. Syria says foreign-sponsored “saboteurs and terrorists” are responsible for the killings, while Western and Arab nation accuse Damascus of indiscriminately killing peaceful protesters and civilians. /PRESSTV