Syria denies using excessive force on protesters


Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad

Syria says criminals and terrorists are behind the wave of violent protests that have going on in the country since March.

Addressing the UN Human Right Council, Syria’s deputy foreign minister Faisal Mekdad said his country is under attack from criminals who have killed 1,200 citizens with arms supplied by neighboring countries.

He accused the media of peddling misinformation, lies, threats and deception.

The Human Rights council is reviewing Syria's human rights record under the annual Universal Periodic Review.

Mr. Mekdad denied the government was violently cracking down on the protesters.

 "The security forces are there to keep the peace, but 1,200 members of the security forces have died during the period. So they are not the only ones with arms and using them. We don't even arm our security forces when they go to these demonstrations. And we've not used tanks and no shells have been fired from tanks at all from the beginning of the protests right up to today. We have used tanks only when we think that the police officers were overwhelmed, they have no means to defend themselves."

 On Thursday, the UN High commissioner for Human Rights said over 2,900 people have been killed in Syria since the beginning pro-democracy protests in March this year.

Duration:  49″

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