Netanyahu condemns Syria massacre


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the "the ongoing massacre" of civilians in Syria.

In a statement released Sunday evening, Netanyahu addressed the massacre over the weekend in the Syrian village of Houla that left an estimated 108 civilians dead, including at least 30 children. 

Netanyahu expressed his "revulsion over the ongoing massacre being perpetrated by the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad against innocent civilians, which continued over the weekend in Houla and included dozens of innocent children."

"Iran and Hezbollah are an inseparable part of the Syrian atrocities and the world needs to act against them," the prime minister leader was quoted as saying in the statement released by his office.

It is reportedly the first time that Netanyahu has addressed atrocities in Syria since the uprising in the country began more than a year ago.

United Nations observers on Saturday confirmed the killings from artillery and tank shells in the village, located near Homs in western Syria. At least 300 people also were  wounded in the attacks.

The U.N. Security Council in an emergency session on Sunday condemned what it called the massacre “in the strongest possible terms,” as well as the killing of civilians by shooting at close range and by severe physical abuse.

The White House in a statement called the attack “a vile testament to an illegitimate regime that responds to peaceful political protest with unspeakable and inhuman brutality.”

The Syrian government blamed “terrorists” for killing the civilians; The New York Times reported that terrorists in this context refers to the opposition. 

The U.N. estimates that more than 9,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Syria and tens of thousands displaced since the uprising against President Bashar Assad began some 14 months ago.

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