Syria opposition slams inaction over slaughter

Agence France Presse

Published — Sunday 24 February 2013

Last update 24 February 2013 1:41 pm

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BEIRUT: The umbrella opposition National Coalition yesterday condemned world powers for failing to act to stop the slaughter in Syria, as missiles killed at least 29 in second city Aleppo.
The remarks by spokesman Walid al-Bunni came after the Coalition had said it would form a government to run “liberated areas” of Syria and was pulling out of several international meetings in protest against world “silence”.
“We cannot continue listening to statements that are not accompanied by action,” Bunni said it remarks to France 24’s Arabic-language channel. “The world has a responsibility to protect (the Syrian people) from a butcher who has been slaughtering them for two years,” a reference to Bashar Assad.
Referring to a meeting of the Friends of Syria group in Rome next Thursday, Bunni said: “We want to say... if you are our real friends, help us to stop the massacres that are being committed against our people”. Late on Friday, the group had said it would not attend meetings in Italy, Russia and the United States to protest against the “shameful” lack of global condemnation of “crimes committed against the Syrian people”.
It had been due to attend the Friends of Syria, and Coalition chief Ahmed Moaz Al-Khatib had also been invited to Moscow.
“The international silence on the crimes committed every day against our people amounts to participating in two years of killings,” a statement said. “We hold the Russian leaders in particular ethically and politically responsible because they continue to support the (Damascus) regime with weapons.”
Bunni also challenged the United States to honour what he said were promises of support for democracy in Syria. “Our visit to Washington is on hold until Washington takes a stance that is in accordance with US statements on its support for democracy.”
Meanwhile around 150 Kurdish women in the war-wracked northern Syrian province of Aleppo have set up a fighting battalion, a monitoring group said yesterday.
“The Kurdish popular committees have set up the first women’s battalion, comprising some 150 women fighters. The battalion is named the Martyr Rokan Battalion,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
“While women are now fighting alongside the fighters, pro-regime forces and Kurdish militia, this is the first women’s battalion as such,” said Observatory Director Rami Abdel Rahman.
The Observatory circulated an amateur photograph of the battalion, showing scores of members in military fatigues, standing in rows before their female leadership.
“Women are now playing a major role in the fighting in Syria,” Abdel Rahman said. The women’s battalion was announced in Ifrin, the scene in late 2012 of violence pitting Kurdish fighters against Arab fighters battling the regime.

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