UNITED NATIONS – An estimated 5,000 Syrians are dying every month in the country’s civil war and refugees are fleeing at a rate not seen since the 1994 Rwanda genocide, U.N. officials said Tuesday.
“In Syria today, serious human rights violations, war crimes and crimes against humanity are the rule,” said Ivan Simonovic, the assistant secretary-general for human rights, told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday.
He added that “the extremely high rate of killings … demonstrates the drastic deterioration of this conflict.”
(Reuters) – At least 51 people were killed on Monday when the Egyptian army opened fire on supporters of ousted president Mohamed Mursi, in the deadliest incident since the elected Islamist leader was toppled by the military five days ago.
Protesters said shooting started as they performed morning prayers outside the Cairo barracks where Mursi is believed to be held.
But military spokesman Ahmed Ali said that at 4 a.m. (0200 GMT) armed men attacked troops in the area around the Republican Guard compound in the northeast of the city.
“The armed forces always deal with issues very wisely, but there is certainly also a limit to patience,” the uniformed Ali told a news conference, at which he presented what he said was video evidence, some of it apparently taken from a helicopter.
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has rejected a timetable for new elections laid out by interim president Adly Mansour, saying it is illegitimate.
The Tamarod protest movement has said it was not consulted on the election plan and has asked to see Mr Mansour.
Meanwhile, ex-finance minister Hazem el-Beblawi has been named interim prime minister, and opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei vice president.
CAIRO (AFP) – The Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation jointly appealed Tuesday to warring parties in Syria to observe a ceasefire during next week’s feast of Eid al-Fitr.
In their statement, the Arab League’s Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi and his OIC counterpart Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu appealed for “a ceasefire and a cessation of violence in all its forms for the duration of the holy Eid al-Fitr holiday”.
They said such a ceasefire would give “the Syrian people the chance to celebrate this important religious occasion, and to perform its rituals in peace and security”.
The road to “a political solution to the crisis that meets the aspirations of the Syrian people… remains riddled with obstacles”, the statement said.
By Lucy Liu, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: A UNICEF ambassador since 2004, Lucy Liu recently traveled to the Bekaa Valley in eastern Lebanon to visit children made homeless by the conflict in neighboring Syria. According to UNICEF, more than 4,000 Syrians flee into Lebanon each day, half of them children. The country hosts the largest number of Syrian refugees in the world, and although it has kept its borders open, it won’t permit formal refugee camps.
Bekaa Valley, Lebanon (CNN) — In my nine years as a UNICEF ambassador, I’ve been to camps for people displaced by conflict. Though hardly luxurious, they usually have some kind of structure: a water source, latrines, even schools.
In Lebanon, even the most basic services are hard to come by as the small country staggers from the flow of refugees from its larger neighbor. The places I saw had no toilets, no clean water sources, no places to shower and no areas for cooking. Cases of painful scabies, lice and fleas are on the rise.
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