Syria: 2,000 Military Personnel Killed During Months-Long Unrest

Syria says 2,000 military personnel killed during months-long unrest (Xinhua, Dec. 23, 2011):

DAMASCUS, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) — The Syrian government said Thursday that a total of 2,000 army and security personnel were killed during the nine-month-old unrest, accusing the United Nations of being bias by ignoring the existence of armed groups in the Middle East country.

In a letter sent to the U.N. Security Council and the Human Rights Council on Thursday, Damascus said the International Commission of Inquiry had handled the Syrian crisis ” unprofessionally, selectively and it was politically motivated.”

“Even though some 2,000 army members have been killed by armed groups, but some parties still unconvinced and determined not to believe in that fact,” it said, according to the state-run SANA news agency.

According to the United Nations, more than 5,000 Syrians have been killed since the uprising began in March.

In the letter, Syria stressed that what is happening on its territories is not a peaceful movement.

It said that the U.N. reports came in line with some agendas of countries that aim to destroy Syria and intervene militarily under the pretext of protecting civilians.

It also charged that the United Nations is turning a blind eye to the violations of human rights by armed groups, which are receiving support and media cover to sabotage Syria and kill its people.

The Syrian government sent the message as a delegation from the Arab League arrived in Syria on Thursday to arrange the deployment of foreign monitors under a plan concluded lately between the two sides to help find an outlet to the current crisis. However, no official comments were released in that regard.

The Syrian government confirmed that it has formed an ” independent, neutral and honest” judicial investigating committee to probe all crimes committed during the current unrest and will punish all perpetrators.

It stressed that the government is ready to cooperate with an international investigation committee soon after the Syrian investigating committee reaches tangible outcome.

A day earlier, the Lebanese army raised concerns at a security meeting that some “Syrian refugees” fleeing to Lebanon are actually al-Qaida members, the Lebanese English-language The Daily Star reported.

At the meeting chaired by Prime Minister Najib Mikati, Lebanese Army Commander Jean Kahwagi said that illegal smuggling of weapons and fighters is taking place in the Lebanese border town of Arsal, The Daily Star said.

Syrian refugees have been fleeing to northern Lebanon’s Wadi Khaled since the anti-government protests broke out in March. But in the past few months, attention has been focused on Arsal in the northeast, where weapon smuggling is suspected through the mountains that mark the Syria-Lebanon border.

At the meeting, Kahwagi confirmed to sources close to the prime minister that some weapon smugglers who claim to be Syrian opposition are in fact al-Qaida members, The Daily Star said.

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