Syr­ian gen­er­als warned they face jus­tice for killings

The Myanmar Times - - World -

THE United States named a dozen Syr­ian gen­er­als and of­fi­cers ac­cused of lead­ing at­tacks on civil­ian tar­gets and run­ning tor­ture pris­ons, warn­ing they will one day face jus­tice.

US am­bas­sador Sa­man­tha Power read out the names at a tense Se­cu­rity Coun­cil meet­ing on Syria, where govern­ment forces backed by Rus­sia pressed on with an of­fen­sive as the hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis reached alarm­ing lev­els.

Nearly 1 mil­lion peo­ple are now liv­ing un­der siege, UN aid chief Stephen O’Brien said, a dra­matic in­crease from 486,700 Syr­i­ans cut off by be­siege­ment six months ago.

Ms Power said many of the mil­i­tary com­man­ders were in­volved in killing civil­ians with as­saults on schools, hos­pi­tals and homes since the out­break of the war in 2011.

The am­bas­sador listed a num­ber of fa­cil­i­ties where cases of tor­ture have been doc­u­mented and warned of­fi­cers and prison of­fi­cials that the world was watch­ing them.

Among those named were five ma­jor gen­er­als – Adib Salameh, Jaw­dat Salbi Mawas, Tahir Hamid Khalil, Jamil Has­san and Rafiq Shi­hadeh – along with five bri­gadier gen­er­als and two colonels.

“The United States will not let those who have com­manded units in­volved in th­ese ac­tions hide anony­mously be­hind the fa­cade of the As­sad regime,” she said.

The coun­cil met as Syr­ian and Rus­sian war­planes pounded rebel-held parts of north­ern Syria while food ra­tions were run­ning out in east Aleppo, which has been un­der siege since July.

Western pow­ers have turned up the pres­sure on Rus­sia over its Syria cam­paign af­ter diplo­matic ef­forts to agree on a cease­fire col­lapsed two months ago.

Rus­sia in turn blames the United States for fail­ing to con­vince its al­lies on the ground to dis­tance them­selves from the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, which has since re­named it­self Fatah al-Sham.

Rus­sian deputy am­bas­sador Vladimir Safronkov ac­cused Ms Power of “try­ing to bring the whole world into a tri­bunal”.

Rus­sia main­tains that its mil­i­tary cam­paign is aimed at root­ing out mil­i­tants from al-Nusra and the Is­lamic State, which con­trols north­east Syria.

The US, French and Bri­tish am­bas­sadors walked out of the coun­cil cham­ber in protest as Syr­ian Am­bas­sador Bashar Jaa­fari took the floor.

Mr Jaa­fari once again ar­gued that Syria is fight­ing a “ter­ror­ist statelet” op­er­at­ing on its ter­ri­tory. –

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