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October 31, 2020
WORLD

At least 130 dead in Syria clashes, activists say

UN Security Council set to hold emergency meeting over the situation.

HAMA – Syrian security forces have renewed attacks on the city of Hama on the second day of a crackdown on anti-government protesters, activists say, according to BBC News. Tanks opened fire after a night of sporadic shooting, Hama-based activist Omar Hamawi said. One report said four people had died. Security forces killed scores of people in the city on Sunday. The UN Security Council was to hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the situation, the BBC has learned.

Activists say about 130 people died across the country on Sunday as state forces battled to disperse protesters.

Intense shooting also broke out in the eastern city of Deir al-Zour overnight, Rami Abdul-Rahman, the head of the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said. Government attempts to crush continuing protests across Syria has brought strong international condemnation, with Germany and Italy calling for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council. Germany is currently a member of the council.

A spokesman for the UK Foreign Office confirmed to the BBC that an emergency meeting of the council would be held later on Monday, but gave no further details. German officials at the UN said the meeting would be behind closed doors.

Russia, in its strongest criticism yet of President Bashar al-Assad, called for an end to “repressions”. “The use of force against both peaceful civilians and representatives of state structures is unacceptable and should be stopped immediately,” the foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday.

Earlier, US President Barack Obama said he was “appalled” by the Syrian government’s use of brutality. In an interview with the BBC on Monday, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague called for stronger international pressure on Syria. “We do want to see additional sanctions. We want to see stronger international pressure all round. Of course, to be effective, that can’t just be pressure from Western nations, that includes from Arab nations, it includes from Turkey,” Hague said. Seeking military action against Syria, even with UN authority, was “not a remote possibility”, he added.

Also on Monday, President Assad praised the military for “foiling the enemies” of the state, the official news agency reported. “[The army’s] efforts and sacrifices will be admired,” he said.

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