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Israel offers aid to civilians in Syria

Clashes add to fearsome death toll

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5 Mar 2012 (All day)
Israel offers aid to civilians in Syria

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman demonstrated Israel’s humanitarian nature on Sunday by offering to send food, medicine and other assistance to civilians caught up in the ongoing violence in Syria between the regime of president Bashar Assad and various opposition groups. “The Jewish state cannot sit by and do nothing while these atrocities are taking place in a neighboring state and people are losing their entire world,” Liberman said. “Even though Israel cannot intervene in events occurring in a country with which it does not have diplomatic relations, it is nevertheless our moral duty to extend humanitarian aid and inspire the world to put an end to the slaughter.” Lieberman added that it was a disgrace that the international community was helpless to put an end to the bloodshed and that it showed Israel’s wisdom in not putting its trust in the UN and other international institutions for its own security.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon issued a report on the ongoing violence over the weekend including a death toll topping 7,500, as well as many more wounded and 25,000 refugees who have fled to neighboring countries, as well as 100,000 – 200,000 who have been internally displaced. Those numbers are likely to climb amid reports of fresh fighting on Monday morning in the city of Deraa near the Jordanian border.

"The Free Syrian Army attacked several roadblocks and street fortifications simultaneously. Tanks are responding by firing 14 mm anti-aircraft guns into residential neighborhoods and army snipers are shooting at everything that moves, even nylon bags," Maher Abdelhaq, one of the activists, told Reuters from Deraa. "About 20 buses carrying troops were seen heading from the football stadium in the north to the southern sector the city on the border (with Jordan)."

Troops loyal to Assad also assaulted civilian neighborhoods with heavy weapons in the city of Rastan on Sunday, while the Red Cross and other relief agencies attempting to bring relief to civilians in Homs were prevented from getting into the city.

“We have started to distribute humanitarian aid in Abel village, three kilometres from Baba Amro (Homs),” ICRC spokesperson Saleh Dabbakeh told AFP. “Many refugees from Baba Amro are in Abel.”

“Unfortunately, international efforts have failed and we have not seen results to stop the bloodshed and massacres in Syria," Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal told a news conference iRhiyad on Sunday. "Syria's friends should advise them to stop the killings. We hope that Russia and others will advise them... we want freedom for the Syrian people."

“It is the right of the Syrians to arm themselves in order to defend themselves,” he added. “Weapons used to target homes are used in wars with enemies."

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