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Syria, Russia snub UN's Human Rights Council

Syria, Russia snub UN's Human Rights Council
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Syrian government forces are carrying out a ground assault on the Syrian city of Homs, targeting the Baba Amro neighbourhood, according to activists.

They have told a news agency that security forces using automatic rifles and machine guns are now being used, after a heavy night of shelling in the besieged city.

Homs is not the only place being bombarded by government forces. Houses have been destroyed in Sarmin – a town just 15 kilometres southeast of Idlib Governate – near the border with Turkey. The number of people killed in recent attacks there is unclear.

It is believed at least 15 lost their lives in an overnight attack on Sarmin on Tuesday. Some of the dead have been buried in makeshift garden cemetaries.

With the United Nations now putting the death toll at 7,500 since the uprising began last March, the UN’s Human Rights Council held an emergency debate – which Syria, Cuba and Russia refused to attend.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov explained why he would not attend: “It interferes with the agenda of the Human Rights Council, which was agreed quite a (long) time ago. It actually interrupts the working methods of the Human Rights Council.”

The meeting was originally scheduled for March 12.

Syria’s ambassador to the UN spoke at the beginning of the debate, expressing his discontent before leaving.

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