Moscow Warns West against ‘Hasty Conclusions’ on Houla

A number of Western countries are jumping to conclusions about the Houla massacre in Syria, where more than 100 were killed, Russia’s EU envoy said on Thursday.

“Far reaching political and, I’m afraid, not only political but also practical conclusions are being drawn from that,” Vladimir Chizhov said.

Russia hopes that the EU countries will refrain from military intervention in Syria, he said.

“Honestly I would like to hope that the European leaders, as well as the leaders of other countries, will have enough common sense to take a sober view of the situation and not take the path of ratcheting up tension, let alone armed intervention,” the envoy said.

The United States, Spain, Great Britain, Italy, Canada, France, Australia, Germany, Japan and other countries announced the expulsion of Syrian ambassadors to their countries on Tuesday, in protest at last weekend’s Houla massacre which they are blaming on forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s.

The Friday killings in Houla, in Homs province, were one of the deadliest single events in the 15-month-old uprising against President Assad’s rule. The UN said 49 children and 34 women were among the 108 people killed.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claimed on Tuesday that “certain countries” were attempting to use the deaths in Houla as a “pretext” for a military operation against Assad’s forces, which have been, in part, armed by Russia. Lavrov also accused the head of the foreign-based opposition, Syrian National Council, of attempting to “incite a civil war” in the Middle East country.

Over 9,000 people have been killed in clashes between the government and opposition forces in Syria since the uprising against Assad began in March 2011, according to UN estimates.


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