U.N. monitors in Syria visit scene of deadly blast (LA TIMES) By Alexandra Sandels BEIRUT, LEBANON 04/27/12)
LOS ANGELES TIMES
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Antigovernment activists say the explosion a day earlier in Hama
killed 70 people. The government blames a ´terrorist group´ and says
16 people died.
BEIRUT ó United Nations monitors on Thursday visited the scene of an
explosion in the Syrian city of Hama that antigovernment activists
said had killed 70 people, many of them women and children.
Homes in the Mashaa al-Tayyar neighborhood were targeted Wednesday,
they said, by rockets or shells fired by forces loyal to President
State media blamed the explosion on a "terrorist group" that
accidentally set off an explosive in a house used to make bombs.
Sixteen people died and 12 were injured, the report said.
After the explosion, the Syrian National Council, an opposition
umbrella group, called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations
Security Council to consider a resolution to protect civilians in
Since the U.N. monitoring mission began 10 days ago, at least 462
people have been killed, including 34 children, according to the
Local Coordination Committees, a coalition of opposition groups.
The "violent gunfire and bombing on Syrian cities haven´t stopped."
The Security Council has authorized a mission of 300 observers to
monitor a cease-fire and implementation of a peace plan that was to
end violence in the 13-month uprising against Assad. So far, only
about a dozen monitors are in the country and it is expected to take
weeks for the first 100 to arrive.
At least 20 people were reported killed Thursday, including 10 in
The mission has been criticized by government opponents, who say the
presence of U.N. monitors brings only brief respites from violence.
In some cases, towns visited by the monitors are attacked once they
Neeraj Singh, a spokesman for the U.N. mission, told TV reporters
that monitors visited the Damascus suburb of Duma on Wednesday. The
next day, activists said, Duma was attacked, as it had been in the
days before the visit.
Two monitors have been stationed in Hama, but activists said the U.N.
presence didn´t protect them. Video said to be from Hama shot moments
after the explosion or attack showed a massive white cloud and debris
Other videos showed entire homes reduced to rubble and men digging
through the debris with their hands searching for survivors and
bodies. The lifeless body of a young girl, blood covering her face
and pink shirt, was pulled from the rubble and carried through the
The Local Coordination Committees said at least 13 children and 16
women were killed. More than a dozen members of one family were
killed, along with five members of a family that had fled the
neighboring city of Homs, the group said.
Activists said many families had left Homs and were living in that
"We are killed in the ugliest ways," said one activist in Hama
province, who did not want his name used.
Sandels is a special correspondent. (Copyright © 2012 Los Angeles
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