UN Council makes rare condemnation of Syria attack

AFP , Friday 22 Mar 2013

UN chief slams new 'atrocity' in Syria after a suicide bomb exploded in a mosque in the capital Damascus

The UN Security Council on Friday overcame differences on the Syria conflict to agree on a rare statement condemning a suicide bomb attack on a Damascus mosque.

UN leader Ban Ki-Moon also condemned the new "atrocity" in Syria.

"The Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist attack in a mosque in Damascus," the statement said. At least 49 people, including a senior pro-government cleric, were killed in Thursday's blast.

The council expressed "deep sympathy and sincere condolences to the families of the victims of this heinous act and to the people of Syria."

The 15-member council has been bitterly divided over the two-year conflict. Russia has sought to shield President Bashar al-Assad, while the United States, Britain and France have given increasing support to opposition rebels.

Ban also condemned the Iman mosque attack "in the strongest terms," said his spokesman Martin Nesirky. Ban highlighted that such attacks on civilians "constitutes a war crime."

"The secretary general believes that this latest atrocity, along with others prior to it, should be promptly and fully investigated and perpetrators brought to justice," he added.

Among the victims was Mohamed Saeed al-Bouti, the most prominent pro-Assad cleric, but both the Security Council and the UN leader avoided laying the blame for the attack on any side.

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