Washington: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday expressed "outrage" over another massacre of more than 200 civilians in Syria`s Hama region a day earlier, reiterating a call for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to relinquish power for a political transition in his country.
"I was deeply saddened and outraged to learn of reports of yet another massacre committed by the Syrian regime that has claimed the lives of over 200 men, women and children in the village of al- Traimseh," the top US diplomat said in a statement.
"Credible reports indicate that this unconscionable act was carried out by artillery, tanks and helicopters -- indisputable evidence that the regime deliberately murdered innocent civilians,” she added.
Syria`s state TV said on Thursday, however, that armed groups committed the massacre in order to frame Syrian troops.
"Syria cannot be peaceful, stable or democratic until al-Assad goes and a political transition begins," Hillary alleged, calling for an "immediate" ceasefire in Hama to allow UN observers to enter al-Traimseh.
"Those who committed these atrocities will be identified and held accountable," she said.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin on Friday strongly condemned the massacre of "innocent civilians”, urging concerned Syrian parties to continue supporting the mediation efforts of UN-Arab League Joint Envoy Kofi Annan and seriously implementing his six-point peace plan.
European members of the UN Security Council, along with the United States, circulated a new draft resolution on Wednesday threatening sanctions against Syria unless Damascus stops using heavy weapons in populated areas and withdraws its forces.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said on Thursday that such a resolution would be "unacceptable”.
Syria has been wracked by bombings and violence against civilians since March 2011 when anti-government protests began, including one massacre in the village of Houla on May 25 that left 108 people dead.