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UK condemns ongoing violence in Syria, welcomes international action
Global Arab Network - - Ahmed Gamal
UK condemns ongoing violence in Syria, welcomes international action
Global Arab Network - UK Foreign Secretary condemns ongoing violence in Syria and welcomes EU and UN Human Rights Council action against Syria, Global Arab Network reports according to a press statement,
Speaking today, British Foreign Secretary, William Hague said:
“I am extremely concerned by ongoing violence and repression in Syria. Yesterday, we once again saw a violent response to protests following Friday prayers, leading to the deaths of many innocent people. There are credible reports that over 500 people have been killed in recent weeks. The Syrian government has failed to heed repeated calls by the international community for restraint.  As I have stressed it is vital to respond with reform not repression.
“I therefore welcome the EU’s decision last night to launch an arms embargo against Syria, to take the offer of an Association Agreement off the table and to review all EU cooperation with Syria, including through the European Neighbourhood Partnership. The UK pressed strongly for these steps.
“I also welcome the strong resolution passed yesterday by the UN Human Rights Council condemning Syria’s conduct and launching a fact finding mission to investigate human rights abuses. The UK actively supported this resolution which was passed by a clear majority of Human Rights Council members.
“We will continue to work with our partners to ensure that those responsible for the violence are held personally to account.  In this context, I welcome the EU’s decision last night to accelerate work on targeted measures against those responsible. The United Kingdom will again be in the forefront of pushing for such measures.”
In Deraa, a southern city of 120,000 people, Residents said they could hear heavy gunfire, mostly from Deraa's old quarter, which is situated on a hill near the Jordanian border and is mostly residential.
"Since dawn, we've been hearing a heavy exchange of gunfire that is echoing across the city and you do not know what's happening," Abu Tareq, a resident, told Reuters by phone.
"I saw more than 15 tanks that had entered from the Damascus highway heading in the direction of the Old City."
It was not immediately clear whether tanks and mounted armoured carriers were shelling the city or agricultural land near the border.
Another resident, Abu Ahmad, told Reuters he had heard tanks had stormed areas in the old city, where the Omari Mosque, which has been a focal point for protests, is located.
"It looks like they (security forces) want to finish their campaign today. From the new tank deployments, it looks as though they are intensifying their operations today."
Despite the heavy military deployments and mass arrests, demonstrators again took to the streets calling for Assad's overthrow on Friday.
Syrian rights groups put Friday's death toll at 62, pushing the number of deaths since an uprising that has posed the biggest challenge to the Assad dynasty's four decades in power, to more than 500.
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