An explosion ripped through a building in Syria’s central city of Hama on Wednesday, killing at least 54 people and wounding dozens more, Local Coordinating Committees (LCC) in Syria said, in a bloody violation of a shaky ceasefire in the country.
At least 100 people were killed across the country on Wednesday, Al Arabiya reported, citing the LCC.
Footage on YouTube of the blast in Hama showed a crowd of men pulling the bloodied body of a young girl from the rubble, shouting “God is great.”
France has said it wants the U.N. Security Council to consider allowing military action in Syria if an international peace plan fails to stop the violence under Assad’s regime, the French foreign minister stated on Wednesday.
Alain Juppe signaled that Paris is increasingly lining up behind a U.S. position laid out by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Paris talks last week by key members of the so-called “Friends of Syria” group.
He said France has been discussing with other world powers the prospect of invoking Chapter 7 of the U.N. charter, which allows for action that could be militarily enforceable.
Clinton also mentioned a Chapter 7 resolution despite concern that it would be vetoed by Russia and China.
Juppe also warned that Kofi Annan’s peace plan for Syria was “seriously compromised” and said it wanted U.N. monitors deployed within a fortnight and not in three months.
Foreign Minister Alain Juppe demanded that 300 U.N. observers for Syria should be deployed within 15 days and said France has all but set a May 5 deadline for the regime to comply with special envoy Annan’s peace plan.
“Things are not going well, the Annan plan is strongly compromised but there is still a chance for this mediation, on the condition of the rapid deployment of the 300 monitors,” Juppe said.
“We think this mediation should be given a chance, on the condition that the deployment of the observer mission happens quickly,” Juppe said after a meeting with Syrian dissidents at his ministry.
The plan isn’t dead, he said, but “it is severely compromised”
Annan’s scheduled May 5 report on the state of a cease-fire called for under his plan will be “a moment of truth: Either this mediation is working, or it isn’t,” Juppe said.
“We cannot allow ourselves to be defied by the current regime,” he added, insisting that Assad’s regime had not held to the six-point plan under Annan.
The Assad regime’s crackdown on a popular uprising is estimated to have killed more than 9,000 people over the past 13 months.