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Lebanese PM condemns Syrian killing of TV cameraman

Lebanese Prime Minister condemns killing by "Syrian side" of a Beirut TV cameraman on Lebanese land, as 105 Syrians killed Monday

  • Agencies
  • Published: 18:09 April 9, 2012

  • Image Credit: AFP
  • A picture taken on February 13, 2011 shows Ali Shaaban, a cameraman working for Lebanon's Al Jadeed television, filming footage in the Lebanese capital Beirut. Lebanon's Al Jadeed TV accused the Syrian army of shooting dead Shaaban on April 9, 2012, saying it opened fire at its team which was on Lebanon's side of the border.

Beirut: Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati condemned on Monday the killing by the "Syrian side" on Lebanon's northern borders of a cameraman working for a Beirut television channel, a statement said.

His statement came shortly before a human rights group said at least 105 Syrians were killed on Monday in violence across Syria, a day before a UN planned peace plan is scheduled to start taking effect, a monitoring group said.

The toll included 23 members of the security forces loyal to President Bashar Al Assad and eight rebel fighters, while the rest were civilians, according to figures provided by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Fifteen dead 'under the age of 18'

At least 35 Syrian civilians, including women and children, were killed in shelling that targeted the village of Latamna, in the country's central Hama province, the Observatory said.

Among the dead, 15 were under the age of 18 and eight were women, said Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Observatory, describing the bombardment as a "new massacre by the Syrian regime". 

Conflict spills over two borders

The bloody conflict in Syria spilled across two tense borders Monday when gunfire from government forces killed a cameraman in Lebanon and wounded at least six people in a refugee camp in Turkey, authorities said.

The Obama administration condemned the cross-border attacks, which came as a cease-fire brokered by international envoy Kofi Annan appeared on the verge of collapse. The cease-fire was supposed to go into effect Tuesday.

"These incidents are just another indication that the Assad regime does not seem at all willing to meet the commitments that it made to Kofi Annan," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters in Washington. "Not only has the violence not abated, it has been worse in recent days," she said.

The violence bolstered fears that the uprising could spark a broader regional conflagration by sucking in neighbouring countries.

Lebanese territory

"We condemn the act of opening fire from the Syrian side on the Lebanese media team, mainly as this team was operating within Lebanese territory," said Mikati, whose government is dominated by Syrian allies, mainly the Iran-backed Shiite Hezbollah party.

Cameraman Ali Shaaban was shot dead by Syrian troops in the Wadi Khaled area, his employer Al Jadeed TV said.

Victims 'mainly women and children'

Earlier Monday it had been reported that Syrian military forces killed at least 30 people on Monday, mostly women and children, when they bombarded a town in the central province of Hama, local activists said.

They said 17 children and eight women were among those killed in Al Latmana, northwest of the city of Hama. Activists said 40 people were killed in an army attack on the same town two days earlier.

Internet video footage showed rescuers pulling people, covered in fine grey dust, out of what appeared to be the wreckage of a collapsed building.

"There are still wounded under the rubble," said a voice in the video. "Look, look at these corpses ... there are more than 50 corpses under the rubble".

Syria has placed tight restrictions on media access, making it hard to verify witness accounts.

President Bashar Al Assad has been trying to crush an uprising against his rule which erupted a year ago.

The United Nations says his forces have killed 9,000 people while Syrian authorities, who blame foreign-backed militants for the violence, say 2,500 soldiers and police have been killed.

The Syrian government said on Sunday it wanted written guarantees that insurgents would stop fighting before it pulls back its troops under the terms of a U.N. peace plan which called for all sides in Syria to cease fire by Thursday.

A Syrian refugee at Boynuyogun Refugee Camp

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