Following reports that Syrian security forces killed as many as 250 civilians and military defectors in a mountain town, France condemned president Bashar al-Assad, urging the United Nations to hurry up and impose sanctions on the country. The anti-Assad Syrian National Council called the event that took place in Idlib and other areas a "horrific massacre" that required "immediate action," but French Foreign Ministry spokesperson Bernard Valero used even harsher works in urging a response. "Everything must be put in motion to end this murderous spiral into which Bashar al-Assad is dragging his people, deeper each day," Valero said at a Wednesday afternoon press conference. "A massacre on an unprecedented scale took place in Syria on Tuesday, causing more than 120 deaths. We call on Russia to accelerate the rhythm of negotiations at the Security Council on its draft resolution." Al Jazeera reported that activists put death toll at "about 250 people, including a large number of civilians." The network quotes Alaa El Din Al Youssef, a member of the Syrian opposition, who offers a terrifying depiction of what happened in Idlib. "Civilians were surrounded by security forces who killed 100 of us," Youssef said. "The corpses of those killed were left in the streets and the mosques and we are not allowed to bury any of them. Some of those killed cannot be recognised. Some were burnt and some beheaded with their hands tied. We are really scared because the area might be stormed once again."
This latest report should shed fresh doubt on Assad's latest comments about the uprising, which looks more like an insurgency lately. Assad spoke to Barbara Walters earlier this month and appears almost insulted about reports like the one above. "What's the biggest misconception my country has here?" Assad said in response to Walters' questioning. "We don't kill our people. No government in the world kills its people unless it's led by crazy person." Whether or not another condemning comment from a foreign government or even UN sanctions will change Assad's mind remains to be seen.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.