Syria accuses UN chief of encouraging 'terrorists'
The official Syrian press yesterday accused UN chief Ban Ki-moon of encouraging "terrorists," the regime term for anti-regime fighters, and Damascus ally Russia said "terrorist groups" need a "decisive rebuff."
On Saturday, government newspaper Tishrin wrote that Ban "avoids talking about abuses by armed groups and focuses his blame solely on Syria, as usual. He encourages these groups to continue to commit more crimes and terrorist acts, which at the end of the day, the Syrian citizen pays for with his life, blood and security."
And a veteran Norwegian peacekeeper was heading to Damascus to take charge of a UN mission overseeing a troubled truce as monitors reported 10 deserters killed in clashes with the army.
Moscow's statement, which insisted that world powers prevent support from reaching the rebels, came after Lebanon said it had intercepted three containers of weapons destined for rebel forces on a ship originating in Libya.
Major General Robert Mood was already en route for the Syrian capital when UN chief Ban announced his appointment late on Friday, diplomats said.
Meanwhile, Syrian troops killed at least 10 rebel fighters yesterday in clashes in the Damascus region, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Ten civilians were among 19 people killed in renewed bloodshed on Friday, more than two weeks into a promised ceasefire, the watchdog said.
The country's state-run news agency yesterday said military units stationed off the Mediterranean foiled an infiltration attempt by “armed groups” from the sea in the early hours of the day.
Saturday's attempt was the first reported rebel infiltration from the sea. Syrian authorities have said in the past that they clashed with infiltrators trying to cross from neighbouring Lebanon or Turkey.
In Lebanon, an official said the navy had intercepted a cargo ship containing heavy machineguns, artillery shells, rockets, rocket launchers and other explosives.