About 110 people killed on Monday, in one of the deadliest days of the uprising. Dozens of army defectors reportedly gunned down.
DAMASCUS – Syria will execute anyone who participates in terrorist acts or distributes weapons, state television announced Tuesday, in the latest escalation against an uprising the United Nations estimates has claimed about 5,000 lives since March, the CNN said.
A new law published Tuesday specifies that anyone who distributes weapons for the purpose of committing terrorist acts will get the death penalty, according to the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency. It also mandates a life sentence of hard labor for weapons smugglers who intend to traffic them for terrorist acts.
The announcement came as activist groups said dozens of army deserters were shot dead by Syrian troops as they tried to flee their bases and join anti-government protests. Activist groups said more than 70 defectors were gunned down in the north-western Idlib province. They said Monday’s death toll across the country could exceed 110 – which if true would make it one of the deadliest days of the uprising, according to the BBC.
While the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that 60 to 70 defectors were killed, the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, said 48 civilians died in eight separate incidents Monday.
The Syrian government did not immediately respond to the claim, CNN noted. The Syrian government maintains that it is cracking down on armed terrorists who attack security forces and civilians.
Monday’s reported deaths came the same day that Syria signed an Arab League proposal aimed at ending the violence. The Arab League expelled Syria over its crackdown. Under the deal, Damascus will allow Arab League monitors in the country. An advance team of observers is expected to go to Syria tomorrow.
The signing came just days after the Cairo-based group of Arab nations warned it could ask the U.N. Security Council to intervene in the restive country.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem announced Monday that Damascus had signed the deal, insisting: “We want a political solution. I do not want the killings to go on.” Syrian opposition leader Burhan Ghalioun was not impressed by the signing of the agreement. “The Syrian regime is playing games and wants to buy time. We are quite surprised that the Arab League is allowing this to take place,” the head of the Syrian National Council said Monday in comments on Orient TV from Tunisia. Separately, Ghalioun urged the international community to enforce a buffer zone to protect civilians.
Council members meeting in Tunisia declined to say whether they would support the use of foreign military force to enforce such a zone, but stressed their belief that international intervention is necessary. “This regime has proven time and time again that it is a regime built on lies and force,” Ghalioun told CNN. “We need a safety zone to protect and prevent efforts by the regime to transform the crisis into a civil conflict.”