viernes, 29 de junio de 2012

Syrian State TV Attacked as Assad Says Syria Is at War - San Francisco Chronicle

(Updates with more casualties in first paragraph, ministry statement in second.)


June 27 (Bloomberg) -- Gunmen attacked Syria's state-run Ikhbariya television station and killed three journalists and four guards a day after President Bashar al-Assad said the country is in a state of war.

The employees at the channel's headquarters in Drousha, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of the capital Damascus, were tied up and shot dead, the Information Ministry said in a statement on Syrian TV, another state-run channel. The attackers ransacked and destroyed the studios, including the newsroom, and planted explosives, the state-run SANA news agency said. The channel continued to broadcast after the attack, SANA said.

Syria's government is fighting a growing uprising in which more than 10,000 people have died, according to United Nations estimates. At least 135 people were killed yesterday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on its Facebook page. Authorities have portrayed the unrest as a conspiracy and the protesters as radical Islamists.

The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria said in a report presented today to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that the human-rights situation in Syria has "deteriorated rapidly" since March. It said at least 435 people died in "increasingly militarized fighting" between Feb. 22 and June 15.


'Won't Go Unpunished'


Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said the gunmen committed "the worst massacre against journalism and freedom of the media," and vowed that the attack "won't go unpunished," according to SANA. He blamed those who "instigate against Syria and escalate terrorism against its people," including the European Union and Arab and international organizations.

Footage of the studios broadcast on Syrian TV showed debris covering the floor, with a small fire burning in the background.

The assault came a day after Assad, presiding over the first session of a new Cabinet, told ministers that the country is in "a state of real war." He said that "all our policies, directives and all sectors will be directed in order to gain victory in this war."

UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous, speaking to reporters on June 13, described the conflict in Syria as a civil war.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday that any Syrian military elements approaching his country's border and deemed a threat will be considered targets. The warning came after Syria shot down a Turkish warplane on June 22. Syrian authorities say it was flying over the country's territorial waters at the time, while Turkey says it was in international airspace.


--With assistance from Inal Ersan in Dubai. Editors: Jennifer M. Freedman, Ben Holland, Francis Harris.


To contact the reporter on this story: Donna Abu-Nasr in Beirut at dabunasr@bloomberg.net


To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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