Security forces shot dead 25 people, including 2 children, opposition activist network says
Angry protesters met an opposition team in Cairo with eggs and tomatoes
The protesters accused the delegation of being agents of the regime
More than 3,500 Syrians have been killed in the violence, the U.N. says
Angry Syrian protesters camped out at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo hurled eggs and tomatoes at an opposition delegation Wednesday, preventing a meeting with the agency’s chief.
The protesters, who have been sleeping outside the Arab League for the past 10 days, accused members of the delegation of being agents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, instead of representing the opposition, according to a senior Arab League official who did not want to be identified because he is involved with the talks.
They were concerned the delegation would agree to a dialogue with the Syrian regime.
Only Hassan Abdel Azim, the coordinator of Syria’s National Opposition Association for Change, was able to enter the building to meet with Secretary-General Nabil Al Araby.
The attack on the delegation underscored divisions within the opposition.
Ahmed Hamoudi of the Syrian Revolution Coordination in Egypt, said the delegation’s views were not in sync with the demands of those on the streets of Syria.
“We threw eggs at the delegation and stopped them from entering as a political message that we do not want them to represent us,” he said.
He said Syrians will not accept anything short of the Arab League freezing Syria’s membership, protection of civilians by an international force and complete change in leadership. The delegation, he said, had a different agenda.
Al-Assad had promised to abide by an Arab League proposal to halt all violence, release all detainees, withdraw all armed elements from populated areas and allow unfettered access to journalists and to Arab League monitors.
But the violence in Syria has not stopped.
Security forces shot dead 25 people, including two children, across Syria on Wednesday, according to the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, a network of opposition activists.
The network provided some details of Wednesday’s violence:
– In Homs, Haitham Al-Bawab, kidnapped from work Tuesday, was found with obvious torture marks.
– In Daraa-Jasim, pharmacist Basil Ibrahim Al-Qowaider was arrested for aiding the wounded.
– And near Idlib, Abdo Akram Shaqouqa, born in 1988, was killed by two bullets in the chest and neck.
The day before, another 18 people were killed, the network said.
Also Wednesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least seven Syrian soldiers were killed in clashes with army defectors near the town of Mahrada.
More than 3,500 Syrians have been killed since the government crackdown on protesters started in mid-March, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights estimated.
“We are deeply concerned about the situation and by the government’s failure to take heed of international and regional calls for an end to the bloodshed,” spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said Tuesday. “Since Syria signed the peace plan sponsored by the League of Arab States last week, more than 60 people are reported to have been killed by military and security forces, including at least 19 on the Sunday that marked Eid al-Adha.”
Al-Assad and other officials have blamed the violence on outside forces attempting to undermine the 40-year rule of the president’s family.
Meanwhile, a recently formed opposition group, based in Turkey and supported by a coalition of Egyptian activists, said Tuesday that it had begun “a broad political move to urge member states of the Arab League to take a strong and effective position against the Syrian regime” in light of the situation in the country, particularly in Homs, where much of the violence has taken place.
The Syrian National Council said its executive officers discussed a plan including “urgent visits” to Algeria, Sudan, Oman and Qatar.
The plan also involves contacting foreign ministers in Arab countries including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Libya and Kuwait “in order to inform them of the horrific crimes the regime is committing in the city of Homs and several areas that are subjected to extensive military attacks.”
A delegation from the council will visit the Secretariat of the Arab League on Friday night and attend a meeting of the Arab Ministerial Council on Saturday “to relay the demands of the Syrian people.”
Those demands, the council said, include freezing Syria’s membership in the Arab League, imposing economic and diplomatic sanctions on Syria by member states, sending a file alleging human rights violations and genocide to the International Criminal Court and recognizing the Syrian National Council as a legitimate representative of “the Syrian revolution” and people, among others.
Journalist Mohamed Fadel Fahmy contributed to this report.