UK celebrates after UN passes Syria resolution

By Ian Dunt

British leaders were celebrating a UN vote against the Syrian regime last night, after an overwhelming majority of member states condemned the violence.

An Arab League-backed resolution was passed 137 to 12, although Russia and China again voted against it.

"The message is unambiguous. The violence must stop immediately," foreign secretary William Hague said last night.

"It sent a clear signal of the international community's condemnation of the Syrian regime's actions and intention to hold to account those responsible for the ongoing atrocities."

The UK is now lobbying for the UN secretary general to appoint a special representative to work alongside the Arab League as it continues to take a key role in the international response to the crisis.

A Friends of Syria meeting next week will see Mr Hague offer more help to the League.

The non-binding result condemned the “continued and widespread violations of human rights” in Syria and backed the League's plans for a peaceful transition of power, via President Bashar al-Assad's deputy.

Russia tried to pass an amendment excluding the vice-president's role, but it was overruled, as were several other efforts.

Syria accused the UN of meddling in its internal affairs and creating chaos in the country but the international community has lost patience with the regime since it stepped up its attacks on the population in the wake of the Russian and Chinese veto earlier this year.

"What is important at this time is that first the Syrian authorities must stop killing their own people," UN chief Ban Ki-moon said.

"This violence should stop from all sides whether by national security forces or by opposition forces.

"I urge the international community to speak in one voice: stop the violence. Stop the bloodshed. The longer we debate, the more people will die."
Reports from the frontlines suggest the regime is indirectly targeting suspected rebels with sniper and mortar fire. It is also reported to have been rounding up suspects and torturing them.