- (Photo: Reuters/Handout)
The Syrian National Council has asked the United Nations and Arab League to intervene in the country due to the recent deaths of 250 Syrians.
The Council, which opposes President Bashar al-Assad, has asked the U.N. and Arab League for help in securing three major cities: Zawiyah Mountain, Idlib, and homs. According to reports, the council wants the U.N. to force Syrian troops to withdraw from these cities, essentially making them “safe zones.”
The deaths are described by the council as a “massacre” and have occurred in a 48-hour period, marking a significant increase in violence.
The protests began in March and have claimed the lives of over 5,000.
On Monday, the U.N. voted 133-11 to condemn human rights violations committed by Assad’s regime. The vote came as news broke that Syria had agreed to sign a peace treaty proposed by the Arab League.
Under the peace treaty’s guidelines, Syria will allow Arab League monitors into the country to supervise the cessation of violence, withdrawal of troops and the release of political prisoners. They are due to arrive in Syria on Thursday, Dec. 21.
Analysts and world leaders fear that Syrian forces will react to the monitors with hostility and not fulfill their end of the treaty. Ian Lustick told the Voice of America, “So I actually would be very surprised, frankly, if those hundreds of observers were allowed to enter Syria.”
A report issued by Human Rights Watch included the stories of 63 Syrian military defectors who were given orders to stop the protests “by all means.” It was reported, however, that security forces killed over 70 defectors as they tried to flee on Tuesday.
The Syrian Revolution began in March with the capture of 13-year-old Hamza al-Khateeb. He went missing during a protest and his body was returned to his family one month later. There was evidence of horrific abuse and torture at the hands of Syrian forces. Since then, Khateeb has been viewed as a martyr and catalyst for change.