UN rights chief says action on Syria urgent

February 8, 2012 15:00

GENEVA - The United Nations' top human rights official called on Wednesday for urgent international action to protect civilians in Syria, saying she was appalled by the Syrian government's military onslaught on the city of Homs.

Navi Pillay, High Commissioner for Human Rights, also implicitly criticized Russia and China for vetoing an Arab and Western move in the UN Security Council to get Syria's President Bashar Assad to quit.

"I am appalled by the Syrian government's willful assault on the city of Homs, and its use of artillery and other heavy weaponry in what appear to be indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas in the city," Pillay said in a statement.

Anti-Assad activists in Syria say that, after an overnight artillery bombardment, government forces are thrusting into rebel-held areas of Homs with tanks as troops fired rockets and mortars, leaving many dead.

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