Beirut rocket attacks
Foreign Minister Bob Carr today condemned twin rocket strikes into Beirut’s southern suburbs yesterday (May 26), injuring five.
Speaking after Ministerial talks in Beirut last Friday, Senator Carr said the attacks demonstrated the risk of Syria’s conflict spreading across national borders.
“Australians should be gravely concerned that Syria’s national crisis, itself a humanitarian disaster, risks spreading throughout the region,” Senator Carr said.
“We’ve seen past incidents along the borders with Turkey and Jordan and now rocket strikes into an area of Beirut controlled by Hezbollah.
“No one has claimed responsibility for these latest attacks but evidence suggests they follow Hezbollah’s public endorsement of the Assad regime.
“The strikes reinforce the need for unified international action to deliver a Syrian ceasefire and help bring this crippling internal conflict to a close.”
Senator Carr said he had seen first-hand the impact of the Syrian conflict on its near neighbour following his talks in Beirut.
More than 80,000 people have been killed and 1.5 million have become refugees since the Syrian conflict began two years ago.
The United Nations estimates up to nine million Syrians will be displaced and 3.6 million risk becoming refugees by the end of 2013.
Australia has provided more than $78 million for shelter, food and medical aid to assist Syrian refugees since the conflict began, and has sought global support for a medical pact to protect health workers in Syria and prevent the targeting of medical facilities by either side.
In talks in Luxembourg last month Australia also called on the Syrian Opposition:
• to ensure minority communities have a voice in a new Syria;
• not to tolerate revenge attacks against organisations or minority groups;
• not to use chemical weapons and to immediately secure existing stocks to prevent them being seized by terrorists; and
• to ensure al-Nusrah and other extremist groups are excluded from any future Syrian government.