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Iraqi ‘emos’ victims of brutal killings

BAGHDAD — Iraqi teenagers widely perceived to be gay are being brutally killed in Baghdad, with Shiite militias distributing lists of targets warning of further assaults, officials and human rights groups say.

At least 15 teenagers, described as “emos” for their tight-fitting black clothes and alternative hairstyles, have been stoned, beaten to death or fatally shot in the past month, medics say.

Reports also have said some of them had their heads smashed with concrete blocks.

Human rights groups say the death toll is far higher amid accusations of a cover-up by security forces.

Witnesses in the conservative Shiite Muslim bastion of Sadr City in north Baghdad say a militia group calling itself the “Brigades of Anger” has posted leaflets naming 22 youths to be “punished.”

Medical officials said at least 15 already have been killed in the past month, including seven who were stoned to death, five who were shot and one who was beaten to death. At least two of the victims were girls.


Annan ends trip with no deal

BEIRUT — International envoy and former U.N. chief Kofi Annan left Syria on Sunday without a deal to end the bloody year-old conflict as regime forces mounted a new assault on rebel strongholds in the north.

Mr. Annan said he presented President Bashar Assad with concrete proposals that “will have a real impact on the ground.”

“Once it’s agreed, it will help launch the process and help end the crisis,” he told reporters at the end of his two-day visit to Syria.

Mr. Annan, who also met with Syrian opposition leaders and businessmen in Damascus, said he was optimistic following two sets of talks with Mr. Assad, but acknowledged that resolving the crisis would be tough.

The former U.N. chief called for reforms that would create “a solid foundation for a democratic Syria,” but added: “You have to start by stopping the killing and the misery and the abuse that is going on today and then give time for a political settlement.”


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