Syria Blasts UN Envoy for Criticizing Barrel Bomb Attacks

August 19, 2015  

Syria’s government on Tuesday slammed United Nations envoy Staffan de Mistura for his criticism of regime air raids that killed nearly 100 people in a rebel-held town, AFP reported.

“In his recent comments Staffan de Mistura has strayed from neutrality,” Syrian state media said, citing a source at the foreign ministry in Damascus.

The source accused de Mistura of “making statements that lack objectivity and facts and rely on what is promoted in circles known for their hostility to Syria.”

The criticism came after de Mistura said government strikes that killed nearly 100 people in the rebel-held town of Douma on Sunday were “unacceptable.”

“The government’s bombing of (Douma) yesterday is devastating,” de Mistura said on Monday, according to AFP.

“Hitting crowded civilian markets killing almost one hundred of its own citizens by a government is unacceptable in any circumstances,” he added.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said at least 96 people were killed in a series of 10 government air strikes, many of which hit a marketplace in Douma.

The town is in the rebel bastion of Eastern Ghouta outside the capital Damascus and is the regular target of government air strikes.

Last week, Amnesty International accused the government of committing war crimes in the region, saying its aerial assaults were compounding misery created by a tight regime blockade on the area.

It also accused rebels in the region of war crimes for firing rockets indiscriminately into Damascus.

More than 240,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began with anti-government protests in March 2011.

The international community is renewing its efforts to solve the crisis. On Monday, the UN Security Council backed a new push for peace talks in Syria in a measure adopted by Damascus ally Russia and the other 14 member states.

It was the first time in two years that the council agreed a political statement on Syria and French Deputy Ambassador Alexis Lamek hailed the newfound unity as “historic.”

The 16-point statement drafted by France had been under negotiation since de Mistura presented his new approach for peace talks to the council last month.

AFP contributed to this report.

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