Syria’s foreign minister addresses UNGA

Walid al Muallem addresses General Assembly on same podium where world leaders called to impose sanctions on Assad’s regime


On the same podium where many international leaders called to impose sanctions on his country for the brutal crackdown against protesters, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al Muallem on Monday addressed the United Nations General Assembly.

 On Monday, four Syrian soldiers were shot dead as they tried to escape a military camp and troops sealed off towns in a continuing crackdown on opponents of President Bashar Assad, activists said.

 The military campaign has focused on towns and villages north of the city of Homs, where increasing numbers of defectors have been organizing and mounting guerrilla raids on roadblocks manned by troops and gunmen loyal to Assad.

 The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, based in Britain, said the four soldiers were killed by military police when they tried to flee their post in the northern province of Idlib, which borders Turkey. Another seven soldiers were arrested.

 In the town of Rastan, north of Homs, three people were injured when troops opened fire with heavy machine guns mounted on tanks surrounding the town, which lies on the main northern highway leading to Turkey, residents said.

 Faced with expanding street protests demanding an end to 41 years of Assad family rule, the president has sent troops and tanks into cities and towns across the country.

 The military crackdown has killed at least 2,700 people, including 100 children, according to the United Nations. Syrian authorities say 700 police and army have been killed during the unrest which they blame on „terrorists” and „mutineers”.