Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday expressed deep concern over a recent massacre in the Syrian town of Houla and called for an unbiased investigation of the tragedy.
An objective and unbiased probe into all circumstances of what happened [in Houla] should be carried out under the auspices of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria, Lavrov told UN and Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan on the phone, according to a statement posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website.
Lavrov also said both sides in Syria should give up violence to prevent any such incidents in the future and added that the task to implement Annan’s peace plan is becoming more urgent in the current circumstances.
Annan said he hopes for further progress and thanked Russia for support of his efforts, the ministry said.
Over 100 people were killed in Houla in Homs province, including dozens of children and women, in the May 25-26 attack that was one of the deadliest single events since the uprising against President Bashar Assad began in March 2011.
The UN Security Council on Sunday condemned the massacre, which took place shortly before Tuesday’s visit to Syria by Annan.
Syrian opposition activists have blamed the Houla killings on pro-government fighters, an accusation flatly denied by the Syrian authorities, who say the tragedy was a terrorist plot aimed at undermining the regime.
Over 10,000 people have been killed in clashes between the government and opposition forces in Syria since the start of the anti-Assad uprising, according to UN estimates.