Belfast Telegraph

Gilmore condemns Syrian 'atrocity'

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore has condemned the massacre of civilians and children in Syria as a crime against humanity.

There has been international outrage over the attack on Houla, central Syria, which left more than 90 people dead, including 32 children under the age of 10, according to United Nations observers.

The Syrian government has denied claims its forces were responsible for the slaughter.

Mr Gilmore said the attack was a deplorable act and a clear crime against humanity.

"Those responsible need to know that the international community will insist on full accountability for such atrocities," said the Foreign Affairs Minister.

"Under the Annan Plan, Syria has committed to withdraw all troops and heavy weaponry from population centres. This commitment must be honoured immediately and the international community will need to consider further steps if it is not."

Mr Gilmore backed calls for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council as soon as possible.

After what was one of bloodiest episodes in the country's 14-month-old uprising, gruesome video footage emerged showing rows of dead Syrian children lying in a mosque with gaping head wounds.

Syria's foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said that Syria is being subjected to a "tsunami of lies" and claimed that anti-government gunmen carried out the attack.

"We categorically deny the responsibility of government forces for the massacre," Mr Makdissi said.

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