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Assad forces barbarians, say French Socialists after Houla massacre

media Bodies laid out in a mosque in Houla Reuters/Houla News Network

France’s ruling Socialist Party on Sunday condemned the “unprecedented barbarity” of the Syrian government after the death of 32 children in a massacre in the town of Houla on Friday. Earlier the government called for a meeting of “friends of the Syrian people” in Paris to take action against Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

“The repression and atrocity of the Syrian regime against the civilian population has reached an unprecedented level of barbarity,” Socialist Party MP Christophe Cambadélis, who is the party’s international affairs secretary, said in a statement.

He welcomed the government’s decision to “immediately contact the friends of the Syrian people group of countries to meet in Paris so as launch initiatives to end the massacre in Syria”.

Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius on Saturday condemned “massacres” in Houla and called for the rest of the world to do more to stop the “atrocities” inflicted on the Syrian people.

Syrian officials on Sunday denied opposition claims that government forces were responsible for the Houla attack, which killed 92 people, 32 of them children and denied that military vehicles were in the area.

The official Sana news agency claimed that “groups of armed terrorists” had set fire to and blown up buildings “so as to make it appear that the Syrian armed forces were bombarding the region”.

The head of the UN observers’ mission, General Robert Mood, did not say who he believed was responsible but confirmed that heavy artillery fired from tanks had been used.

London, Berlin and Washington have all condemned the violence but have not acted on the opposition Free Syrian Army’s call to launch air strikes against Assad’s forces.

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