International pressure is mounting on the Syrian government following a massacre in the town of Houla that killed at least 108 people, almost half of them children. U.N. observers attributed the massacre at least partly to the Syrian army and pro-government militias, but the Syrian government blamed Islamist militants. Earlier today, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad met U.N. envoy Kofi Annan. On Monday, Annan said Syria must take bold steps to implement the U.N. peace plan.
Kofi Annan: “I urge the government to take bold steps to signal that it is serious in its intention to resolve this crisis peacefully and for everyone involved to help create the right context for a credible political process. And this message of peace is not only for the government, but for everyone, every individual with a gun. The six-point plan must be implemented comprehensively, and this is not happening to date.”
On Sunday, the U.N. Security Council condemned the use of artillery and tanks in the Houla killings, but U.N. observers are now saying most of the dead were executed at close range. Meanwhile, U.S. General Martin Dempsey, the chair of the joint chiefs of staff, threatened military intervention in Syria during an interview on Fox.
Martin Dempsey: “There is always a military option, but that military option should always be wielded carefully, because, one thing we’ve learned about war, I have learned personally about war, is that it has a dynamic all its own, it takes on a life all its own. And so, you’ll always find military leaders to be somewhat cautious about the use of force, because we’re never entirely sure what comes out on the other side. But that said, it may come to a point with Syria because of the atrocities.”