Syria's Assad: Military Offensive 'Stopped'

    Syrian refugees chant slogans during a protest against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at the Turkish Red Crescent camp in the Yayladagi district of the Turkish city of Hatay, two kilometers from the Syrian border, on June 15, 2011. An envoy of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was to hold talks later todya with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who has been urging the Damascus regime to halt its crackdown on protesters.

    Mustafa Ozer, AFP / Getty Images

    Syria President Bashar al-Assad told the United Nations Wednesday that the military offensive has "stopped." U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said Assad's comments came after U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon demanded all military operations and mass arrests cease. Syrian government forces held hundreds in a stadium in Latakia, residents said—part of mass arrests from raids of houses in the Sunni district of the besieged city. Latakia, a port city in the southeast, is of particular importance to Assad, since his family is from the area, and they control the city’s port and its finances. Meanwhile, the United Nations is expected to propose that the tribunal at The Hague investigate Assad and his forces for possible war crimes.


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