The brutal attack in the Houla district of Homs in which 110 civilians were killed, around 50 of them under the age of 10, is yet another blow to a cease-fire brokered by international envoy Kofi Annan under the auspices of the UN Security Council. Involvement of pro-Assad militias known as shabbiha as well as forces from nearby Alawite villages in the deaths in Sunni-dominated Houla shows signs of crystallizing sectarian conflict in the region.
The statement released by the Foreign Ministry on Saturday says the international community bears responsibility to ensure that the massacre carried out by the Syrian regime does not go unpunished. “The international community should demonstrate that it will not condone inhumane massacres any more, such as that committed in Houla, and that its patience regarding the fulfillment of obligations arising from the Annan plan is not infinite,” the statement reads.
There are currently 300 unarmed UN military observers as part of the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) overseeing the implementation of the six-point Annan peace plan.