The Secretary-General and the Joint Special Envoy condemn in the strongest possible terms the killing, confirmed by United Nations observers, of dozens of men, women and children and the wounding of hundreds more in the village of El-Houleh, near Homs. Observers from the UN Supervision Mission in Syria have viewed the bodies of the dead and confirmed from an examination of ordnance that artillery and tank shells were fired at a residential neighbourhood.
This appalling and brutal crime involving indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force is a flagrant violation of international law and of the commitments of the Syrian Government to cease the use of heavy weapons in population centres and violence in all its forms. Those responsible for perpetrating this crime must be held to account.
The Secretary-General and the Joint Special Envoy extend their profound sympathies to the families of the victims and to the wounded, and underscore their grave concern about the lack of protection for civilians in Syria.
The Secretary-General and the Joint Special Envoy demand that the Government of Syria immediately cease the use of heavy weapons in population centres. They reiterate that all violence in all its forms in Syria must cease.
The Joint Special Envoy is contacting the Syrian authorities to convey in the clearest terms the expectations of the international community, and he will also do so during his forthcoming visit to Syria.