Commenting on reports of a massacre in the Damascus suburb of Darayya on Saturday 25 August, Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, Alistair Burt, said:
“I am deeply concerned by emerging reports of a brutal massacre of civilians in Darayya, in the outskirts of Damascus.
“The Syrian regime’s appalling repression of its people, over more than 17 months, has left little space for independent observers to operate in Syria. This makes it extremely difficult to verify what took place yesterday. Opposition groups report that over 300 people, including women and children, were killed and that some were shot at close range. If confirmed it would be an atrocity on a new scale, requiring unequivocal condemnation from the entire international community. It would make yesterday the bloodiest day since the unrest in Syria began in March 2011, with over 400 killed across the country.
“This incident is the latest in a long line of human rights violations and abuses committed in Syria. It highlights the urgent need for international action to bring an end to the violence, end this culture of impunity and hold to account those responsible for these terrible acts. This afternoon I spoke to the UN and Arab League Joint Special Representative, Lakhdar Brahimi, to discuss this latest atrocity and how best we can support his efforts to find a solution to the crisis in Syria.”