Mar
13

Syria ‘laying border landmines’ – live updates

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• Mines laid near Lebanon and Turkey, says HRW
• Kofi Annan meets opposition Syrian National Council
• UN says more than 8,000 people killed in uprising

8.39am: (all time GMT) Welcome to Middle East Live. Human Rights Watch has accused Syria of mining border areas while the UN estimates that more than 8,000 people have been killed a year since the uprising began.

Here’s a roundup in more detail:

Syria

Syrian forces have placed landmines near the borders with Lebanon and Turkey according to multiple reports compiled by Human Rights Watch. Steve Goose, its arms division director said: “Any use of antipersonnel landmines is unconscionable. There is absolutely no justification for the use of these indiscriminate weapons by any country, anywhere, for any purpose.”

More than 8,000 people have died since anti-government protests erupted in Syria a year ago, according to UN general assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz al-Nasser. His comments come as the UN and Arab League envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, is to meet members of the Syrian opposition in Turkey, the BBC reports.

Marie Colvin, the Sunday Times war correspondent was laid to rest in her home town near New York on Monday, almost three weeks after she was killed on assignment in Syria. Colvin’s family followed her coffin into their local church in Oyster Bay on the north shore of Long Island, while a lone piper played Amazing Grace. Sunday Times proprietor Rupert Murdoch and editor John Witherow (pictured) joined immigrants who followed her dispatches from their troubled home countries for an intimate ceremony.

Valerie Amos, who last week became the first international official to visit devastated Baba Amr area Homs, said she was “horrified” by what she saw and expressed concerned about the fate of up 60,000 inhabitant who used to live there. In her official report to the UN she said:

In Baba Amr I was horrified by the destruction I saw. No building was untouched and there was clear evidence of use of heavy artillery and tanks. Baba Amr was almost deserted. A few people in tears, as they tried to salvage a few possessions.

I am extremely concerned as to the whereabouts of the people who have been displaced from Baba Amr by the shelling and other violence.

I was told that some 50 to 60,000 people used to live in the area. We need to know what has happened to them, where they are now and what they need. We also need to know where the wounded are and whether they are receiving treatment …

The people of Syria need our help. They want peace, security and stability so that they can get on with their lives.

We must do everything we can to stop the violence – and end the suffering of people caught in the conflict.

Syrian pro-government gunmen have killed at least 16 people, including children, in an area of Homs recaptured from rebels, according to opposition activists. State media, which often ignores activists’ claims, confirmed the killings but blamed “armed terrorists”. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 16 people were killed in the Karm el-Zeytoun district, while the Local Co-ordination Committees said 45 were killed. Both groups said children were among the dead.

Gaza and Israel

Israel and militant factions in the Gaza Strip have agreed to an Egyptian-brokered truce to end four days of cross-border violence in which 25 Palestinians have been killed. Both sides had “agreed to end the current operations”, an Egyptian security official said, with Israel giving an unusual undertaking to “stop assassinations”, and an overall agreement “to begin a comprehensive and mutual calm”.

Libya

Damaging new claims have emerged about the funding of Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign and his links with former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi emerged. The French investigative website Mediapart claims to have seen a confidential note suggesting Gaddafi contributed up to €50m (£42m) to Sarkozy’s election fund five years ago.

Matthew Weaver

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from Matthew Weaver

via http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/middle-east-live/2012/mar/13/syria-laying-border-landmines-live

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