Syria's UN envoy: Israel committing 'state terrorism' against Palestinians
Syrian ambassador's address to UN Human Rights Council comes amid reports of Syrian tanks storming a town on the main highway to Turkey, killing at least four.
Israel's human rights violations are proof that it is committing "state terrorism," Syria's ambassador to the United Nations told the UN's Human Rights Council on Monday.
The comment by the Syrian official came amid a months-long crackdown by Bashar Assad's regime against pro-democracy protesters. Earlier this month, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said that at least 2,700 people have been killed in Syria since anti-government protests broke out in March.
Speaking at the Human Rights Council on Monday, Syrian UN envoy Faisal al-Hamwi was quoted by Syria's state news agency SANA as saying that Israeli human rights violations reported by Palestinians proved "the reality of state terrorism practiced by Israel" as well as what the SANA report calls an "aggressive tendency against the Arab people."
The SANA report also cites al-Hamwi as accusing Israel of escalating violence along its borders with Syria and Lebanon, saying Israeli forces "committed the crime of killing Syrian, Palestinian and Lebanese peaceful protesters who were stressing their legal right of returning to their lands."
The Syrian envoy was referring to an incident in May of this year, in which four people were reportedly shot dead by Israel Defense Forces troops as they opened fire on large numbers of infiltrators trying to breach Syria's southern border with Israel.
Another four people were said to have been killed on the Lebanese side of its shared frontier with Israel, as Palestinian protests for the annual Nakba Day, which mourns the creation of the State of Israel, took hold across the region.
Al-Hamwi's talk before the UN Human Rights Council came as new reports claimed Syrian forces were engaged in a wide-spread attempt to stamp out anti-Assad protests.
On Tuesday, activists based in Beirut said that Syrian tanks stormed a town on the main highway to Turkey, killing at least four and injuring several others.
"The Syrian army stormed under heavy shelling the village of al-Rastan," an activist said. They also took prisoners, he said.
"Helicopters were used to shell a major highway leading to Turkey to prevent army defectors and activists fleeing," he added.
"Dozens of people were snatched from their homes in the early hours of the morning and taken in buses blindfolded to an unknown destination," said the activist, who requested anonymity.
Al-Rastan, which has 40,000 residents, is located near the city of Homs, which has been under siege by the Syrian army for two days.
Foreign journalists are barred from Syria, where the regime has so far killed an estimated 2,700 people during its crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, according to opposition activists and rights groups.