Turkey signals further sanctions on Syria amid continuing violence; President Assad addresses Syrian parliament; Italy warns of threat of genocide; Free Syrian Army accuses government of using chemical weapons
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Email
  • Whatsapp
  • Linkedin
  • Print
  • (JUNE 4-10)

    According to reports, following the massacre of more than 100 people in Houla last week, the Turkish Prime Minister has said that his government may impose new unspecified sanctions against Syria. Turkey has also said it will push for stronger international sanctions on Syria, demand for a deadline on Kofi Annan’s six-point peace plan, and propose a stronger UN observer presence in Syria. In efforts to improve visibility for the opposition Syrian national Council (SNC), the Turkish Foreign Minister met with SNC members; the SNC has called for the establishment of a buffer zone within Syria that will allow Syrian Army units to defect in large numbers along with heavy weapons and armour. Turkey is seeking and international or regional mandate for any such action since any such buffer zone would require military protection. 1

    Meanwhile, the Syrian President addressed the first legislative session of the Syrian People’s Assembly on June 3, 2012. Assad referred to the international and regional role in the crisis, and the need to isolate “terrorism” from the political process. He added that his government is defending the country, and extended condolences for victims of the Houla massacre. 2 Opposition activists have responded saying that Assad is out of touch with events around him. 3

    Following the address, Assad appointed a new Prime Minister. He has tasked former Agriculture and Agrarian Reform Minister, Dr Riyad Farid Hijab, with forming a new government. 4

    Later in the week, reports emerged of the killing of more than 140 people in Marazaf town in Hamah. 5 The Italian Foreign Minister has warned of the threat of genocide in Syria, failing rapid intervention. Giulio Terzi was speaking ahead of a special meeting of the 55 Friends of Syria countries. 6

    Meanwhile, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) has said that government forces have used chemical weapons in several northern areas of Syria. The FSA commander said he received information from sources within the government about the possible use of banned weapons. 7

    • 1. “Turkey seen increasing pressure on Syria”, Zaman website, June 3, 2012
    • 2. “Syrian president says youths given 32 US dollars to kill”, Syrian TV satellite service, June 3, 2012
    • 3. “Pan Arab TV talk show hosts opposition figures to discuss Al-Asad's speech”, Al-Jazeera TV, June 3, 2012
    • 4. “Syria's Al-Asad appoints new prime minister”, SANA news agency website, June 6, 2012
    • 5. “Al-Jazeera TV says 140 killed in Syria's Hamah”, Al-Jazeera TV, Doha, June 6, 2012
    • 6. “Italy sees threat of genocide looming over Syria”, La Stampa website, June 7, 2012
    • 7. “Free Syrian Army accuses army of using chemical weapons”, Al-Jazeera TV, June 8, 2012