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2012年6月 4日 (月)

シリア情勢 停戦を順守させ流血止めよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jun. 4, 2012)
Intl community must make Syria stop bloodshed
シリア情勢 停戦を順守させ流血止めよ(6月3日付・読売社説)

The U.N. Security Council must prevent further tragedies of bloodshed in Syria.

A string of massacres Friday and Saturday in the central Syrian town of Houla has pushed former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan's ceasefire arbitration plans to the brink of collapse.

Failure of the plans could plunge Syria into civil war, which in turn could destabilize the entire Middle East. The situation remains extremely tense.

Under the circumstances, the Security Council must waste no time in taking such steps as beefing up the U.N. mission monitoring the ceasefire in Syria. It also must increase pressure on the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad to do its best to implement Annan's peace plans.

In Houla, where government forces carried out artillery attacks, more than 100 bodies--including those of many children--were found.

Members of the U.N. monitoring mission who rushed to Houla confirmed that many of the bodies showed the victims had been subject to atrocities such as being gunned down or stabbed to death.

Anti-Assad dissidents say the massacre was the work of government militiamen, but the truth of the incident remains unknown.


Unarmed monitors ineffective

Ever since antigovernment demonstrations began in Syria in March 2011, there has been increasing bloodshed due to a crackdown on dissidents by government forces and clashes with rebels. As a result, fatalities in the violence have surpassed 10,000, according to the United Nations.

The Syrian government once accepted peace arbitration plans that Annan, a joint special envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League, worked out in March. It is highly regrettable that Damascus has effectively trashed the plans.

The U.N. mission of fewer than 300 unarmed observers can hardly act effectively considering the situation.

The United Nations should urgently address the task of realizing measures to bolster the U.N. mission, based on proposals made by such countries as the United States and Britain to provide Syrian antigovernment forces with aircraft and dispatch armed monitors.

Armed anti-Assad groups have declared they would take unrestrained military actions if the ceasefire accord is broken. Such a worst-case scenario must be averted by all means.

In the Security Council, the United States and European countries have been seeking measures such as economic sanctions to force President Assad to step down, bringing them into conflict with Russia and China, which oppose such actions.


Russia behind suppression

The opposition put up by Russia, in particular, has been hampering enforcement of anti-Syria sanctions.

Syria is an important importer of weapons from Russia, and Damascus provides the Russian Navy with supply bases.

In a Russian-French summit meeting on Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin, in response to French President Francois Hollande's argument in favor of anti-Syria sanctions, insisted sanctions "could not work," and there were no signs the differences of views could be narrowed.

Given that Russia has long backed the Assad regime, it has a responsibility to firmly press Damascus to bring the bloodshed to an end.

The United States and European countries have been imposing economic sanctions on Syria on their own.

In the wake of the Houla massacre, they have asked Syrian ambassadors and others to leave. Following suit, Japan has also asked the Syrian ambassador to leave.

The Assad regime, whose main power base is the minority Alawis Muslim community, has ruled for years by relentlessly oppressing the people.

The intensified suppression has shaken the legitimacy of the Assad regime even more, leaving no alternative but deeper international isolation.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 3, 2012)
(2012年6月3日01時42分  読売新聞)


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