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Russia, China veto UN resolution on Syria

UNITED NATIONS: Russia and China vetoed on Saturday an Arab and Western-backed resolutionat the UN Security Council calling for Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to step down over his bloody crackdown on uprising. The setback in diplomatic efforts to defuse the revolt peacefully came after world leaders and Syrian opposition activists accused Assad’s forces of killing hundreds of people in a bombardment of the city of Homs. Death tolls cited by activists and opposition groups ranged from 237 to 260, making the Homs attack the deadliest so far in Assad’s crackdown on protests in the 11-month uprisingand one of the bloodiest episodes in the “Arab Spring” of revolts that have swept the region.

Shortly before the UNSC voted, US president Barack Obama denounced the “unspeakable assault” on Homs, demanded that Assad leave power immediately and called for UN action against Assad’s “relentless brutality”.

US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said on Saturday it had not been possible to work constructively with Russia ahead of the vote. Moscow had said before the vote that the resolution was not “hopeless”, but its wording needed to be altered to avoid “taking sides in a civil war”. France called the Homs assault a “massacre” and a “crime against humanity”.

Turkey said hundreds had been killed and the UN must act. Tunisia expelled the Syrian ambassador, and the flag above its embassy was brought down.

As news of the violence spread, angry crowds of Syrians stormed their country’s embassies in Cairo, London, Berlin and Kuwait and protested in other cities.

Syria denied shelling Homs and said internet video of corpses was staged. It is not possible to verify activist or state media reports as Syria restricts independent media access.

The official Syrian account was disregarded across the globe, where international condemnation was thunderous.

 

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Posted by on Feb 5 2012. Filed under Top Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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