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13 July 2012 - Syria - Bombing of Tremseh / Defection of Mr. Nawaf Fares, Syrian Ambassador to Iraq

Statement by Bernard Valero, spokesperson of French Ministry of Foreign Affairs

(Paris, 13 July 2012)

Bombing of Tremseh

We’re extremely concerned by reports indicating that a new massacre has been perpetrated in the region of Hama by the Syrian forces, which purportedly used tanks and helicopters to bomb the area of Tremseh, with the death toll reported to be at more than 150. This new crime, if it’s confirmed, reflects once again the Bashar al-Assad regime’s headlong pursuit of deadly violence, and demonstrates the urgent need for strong action on the part of the UN Security Council.

After 16 months of bloody repression which has resulted in the death of more than 17,000 people, tens of thousands of prisoners who have frequently been tortured, hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons and more than 100,000 refugees in neighboring countries, and massacres such as those in Houla and al-Qubeir in particular, it’s clear that Bashar al-Assad must leave so that a political transition can take place. The Friends of the Syrian People group, which represents half of the world’s countries, unequivocally stated this at the meeting in Paris on July 6. Everyone must now understand this and facilitate the transition.

Defection of Mr. Nawaf Fares, Syrian Ambassador to Iraq

France welcomes the courageous gesture of Mr. Nawaf Fares, the Syrian Ambassador to Iraq, who announced his defection on Wednesday, July 11.

This defection is highly symbolic because Mr. Nawaf Fares is the first Syrian ambassador to make this gesture to reject an increasingly brutal crackdown against a population that is fighting for its freedom. We hope that this defection will be followed by that of other Syrian diplomats and officials.

We note that the number of defections is increasing. They demonstrate the increasing isolation into which the Damascus regime - which has lost all legitimacy - has plunged itself.

The international community must assume its responsibilities by adopting a resolution at the Security Council which gives legally binding force to Mr. Kofi Annan’s plan and to the Geneva agreement in order to put an end to the violence and to allow a credible political transition to be implemented. That’s the purpose of France’s efforts at the UN Security Council.

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