Norway condemns escalation of violence against the people of Syria
“Norway condemns the Syrian regime’s military campaign against its own people. The increase in violence indicates that President Assad’s legitimacy has been further weakened,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
The lack of access for journalists and other independent observers is still making it difficult to get an accurate picture of the situation in Syria. However, according to reports from a number of different sources, several dozen people are believed to have been killed during the past few days in connection with intensified security force operations. There are reports of extensive use of ground troops, militia groups in civilian clothing, tanks and warships.
Between 30 and 40 people are said to have been killed in the port city of Latakia. Moreover, somewhere between 5 000 and 10 000 Palestinian refugees are believed to have fled from the Ramel refugee camp to escape the shooting. There are reports of new deaths in the cities of Homs and Houla, where demonstrators are said to have been fired at by the security forces.
“The increase in violence is making the situation in Syria worse. We are particularly concerned about reports of an increase in the number of arrests, the mistreatment of detained opposition supporters and the lack of access to medical treatment for civilians wounded in the unrest. I will reiterate our call on the Syrian authorities to immediately halt the violence against civilians, institute genuine democratic reforms and allow independent observers into the country,” said Foreign Minister Støre.