Syrian protesters in Deraa hoisting large flag 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS)
LONDON - Britain said on Tuesday it was working with its international partners on possible further measures against Syria and called on Syrian President Bashar Assad to stop attacks on anti-goverment protesters.
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"The United Kingdom is working intensively with our international partners to persuade the Syrian authorities to stop the violence and respect basic and universal human rights to freedoms of expression and assembly," Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague said.
"This includes working with our partners on the United Nations Security Council to send a strong signal to the Syrian authorities that the eyes of the international community are on Syria, and with our partners in the European Union and the region on possible further measures."
Security forces arrested some 500 pro-democracy sympathizers across
Syria after the government sent in tanks to try to crush protests in the
city of Deraa, the Syrian rights organization Sawasiah said early
The independent organization said it had
received reports that at least 20 people had been killed in Deraa since
tanks moved in on Monday, but communications with the southern town
where the protests against President Bashar al-Assad began on March 18
had been cut making it hard to confirm the information.
"Witnesses managed to tell us that at least 20
civilians have been killed in Deraa, but we do not have their names and
we cannot verify," said a Sawasiah official, adding that two civilians
were confirmed dead in the Damascus suburb of Douma, which forces
entered earlier in the day.
At least 500 were
arrested elsewhere in Syria, it said.
video showed soldiers and tanks deployed on the outskirts of
Deraa early on Monday. In one clip, residents are heard saying of the
troops, “Instead of fighting on the Golan, they’re fighting their own
On Monday, US President Barack Obama spoke by phone with Turkish Prime
Minister Tayyip Erdogan telling him the US expressed deep concern about
the violence in Syria.
"The leaders agreed that
the Syrian government must end the use of violence now and promptly
enact meaningful reforms that respect the democratic aspirations of
Syrian citizens," the White House said.
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