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Reported massacre in Syria

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MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS Senator the Hon. Bob Carr November 3, 2012 Reported Massacre in Syria

Foreign Minister Bob Carr today condemned video footage of an alleged massacre of Syrian Government combatants by an armed group.

While the footage has yet to be independently verified, a spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has stated it is "very likely that this is a war crime."

"Reports of a massacre of captured Syrian soldiers are unconfirmed but deeply disturbing. There is never any justification for such barbarous acts. If verified, they would be rightly regarded as war crimes," Senator Carr said.

“The Australian Government unreservedly condemns war crimes, regardless of who is responsible.

"These reports again underline the urgent need for a ceasefire and a dialogue towards political transition. The longer this conflict drags on and the more intense the fighting becomes, the greater the likelihood of such atrocities occurring.

"I am especially concerned about reports of participation in the fighting by Salafist and jihadist elements, including from outside the country. They and their message of hate have no place in determining the future of the Syrian people.

"In the meantime, we renew our call for protection of hospitals and medical workers assisting the wounded on either side."

The Syrian Government continues to restrict access by media and humanitarian organisations, preventing the international community from being able to monitor developments on the ground.

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