Diplomats seek Syrian solution after bloodiest day of the conflict

UN foreign ministers meet today to discuss plans for a transitional rule to end the violence

Beirut

Wrapped in white shrouds, the corpses of scores who died on what may have been the bloodiest day of the Syrian conflict were buried in a Damascus suburb yesterday on the eve of a crucial summit to discuss a transition to end the bloodshed.

Videos posted online showed bodies of purported victims laid out on a street in Douma, the area hardest hit by Thursday's violence. Nationwide, the clashes claimed up to 190 lives, according to activist groups opposed to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. They said 59 Douma residents were buried yesterday morning.

In one video a man holding the limp corpse of a young girl cries: "This is another massacre of the massacres by Assad and his secret police."

The images will be at the forefront of the minds of diplomats meeting in Geneva today to discuss a plan for a transitional unity government proposed by the United Nations-Arab League envoy, Kofi Annan. Mixed signals from Russia have already cast doubt over the plan's future before it even reaches the negotiating table.

The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, were due to meet in St Petersburg last night in an effort to reach an agreement before today's meeting, which will be attended by foreign ministers representing the permanent members of the UN Security Council and other key regional players. Russia and the US are split over Assad's role in any transitional body, with Russia arguing that the international community has no right to "meddle" and exclude him.

Violence in Syria has surged since UN observers were withdrawn for security reasons, dealing a fatal blow to Mr Annan's six-point peace plan agreed in April. And now the rebels have heavier weapons they have been able to inflict increasing losses on government forces trying to regain control of opposition-held areas.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Thursday's death toll of 190 made it the bloodiest day in Syria this year, and possibly since the beginning of the 16-month uprising. Activist groups gave conflicting details of the assault on Douma. The local Syrian Revolution Co-ordination Committee claimed, after heavy shelling, that several residents were killed in their homes, including a family of 10. Others claimed at least 20 members of one family had been stabbed.

The observatory said 41 Douma residents died in total, including three children and five members of a single family. The inconsistencies and timing were jumped upon by government supporters, who accuse the rebels of staging a "massacre" every time there is a large international meeting, in order to further their cause.

However, there was little doubt of the widespread destruction, and the pro-regime Al Dunya TV channel said a "surgical" campaign was under way to "eliminate all terrorists" in the Damascus suburb.

"Today in Douma they buried 59 in the morning, but the shelling has been going on non-stop for a week and most people have fled the area," said one resident. "Douma has been destroyed."

Suggested Topics
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
football
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SEN Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: SEN Jobs Available Devon

Infrastructure Lead, (Trading, VCE, Converged, Hyper V)

£600 - £900 per day: Harrington Starr: Infrastructure Lead, (Trading infrastru...

Software Solution Technician - Peterborough - up to £21,000

£20000 - £21000 per annum + Training: Ashdown Group: Graduate Software Solutio...

Supply teachers needed- Worthing!

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: Supply teachers needed for va...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering