WORLD

Syria referendum “unlikely to be credible”, UN says

N.Y/Damascus – A referendum in Syria that overwhelmingly approved a new constitution was “unlikely to be credible,” the United Nations said on Monday as it urged the country to focus on bringing an end to its bloodiest turmoil in decades. The Syrian Interior Ministry said that a reformed constitution, which could keep President Bashar al-Assad in power until 2028, had received 89.4 percent approval from more than eight million voters who cast their ballots on Sunday. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem insisted on Tuesday that no regime cares more about the Syrian people than his government, CNN informs. The latest bloodshed took place Tuesday, when at least five civilians were killed across the country, including three in Aleppo, according to the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, a network of opposition activists. Another opposition group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said five members of the Syrian army were killed in pre-dawn clashes with defected soldiers in Daraa province.British photographer Paul Conroy, who was wounded in an attack in Syria that left two other journalists dead last week, has been smuggled out of the country and is now safe in Lebanon, activist Wissam Tarif said Tuesday. There is no word on the fate of wounded French journalist Edith Bouvier, or of the bodies of Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik, who were killed in Homs.Meanwhile, international abhorrence of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime continues to escalate. The EU will freeze the assets of seven al-Assad regime ministers, spokeswoman Susanne Kiefer said. Those ministers will also be denied entry into the EU. In addition, the international body will freeze the Syrian Central Bank’s assets in the EU. Legitimate trade will be allowed to continue, Kiefer said, but must be authorized first.

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