UK, France put forward UN resolution condemning Syria

Refugees flee to Turkey as Assad sends tanks to quell rebellion; Erdogan says door open to Syrians escaping violence.

By REUTERS, JPOST.COM STAFF
June 8, 2011 14:20
2 minute read.
British Prime Minister David Cameron.

David Cameron 311. (photo credit: Reuters)

 
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Britain and France will put forward a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Syria's crackdown on protesters, British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Wednesday.

"Today in New York, Britain and France will be tabling a resolution at the Security Council condemning the repression and demanding accountability and humanitarian access," Cameron told parliament.

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"And if anyone votes against that resolution or tries to veto it, that should be on their conscience," Cameron said.

Britain, France, Germany and Portugal circulated a draft resolution condemning Syria at the UN Security Council last month, but diplomats say Britain has been working on a version with tougher language. Veto powers Russia and China have made clear they dislike the idea of council involvement.

At least 120 Syrians fled the restive northern town of Jisr al-Shugur towards the Turkish border, fearing bloodshed as troops with tanks approached, under orders to hit back after the government accused armed bands there of killing scores of its security men. Turkish Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would not "close its doors" to the refugees fleeing unrest.

Though accounts of days of killing in Jisr al-Shughour ranged from an official version of gunmen ambushing troops to residents' reports of an army mutiny, it triggered international alarm that violence may enter a new and bloodier phase after three months of popular unrest that has left over 1,000 dead.

The 122 refugees that crossed into Turkey made their way to the village of Karbeyaz Koyu in the Hatay province of Turkey, AFP quoted local villagers as saying



The Syrians were taken to a refugee camp set up by the Red Crescent in Yayladag, 45 kilometers west of Karbeyaz Koyu, after identification procedures were conducted by Turkish officials.

Meanwhile, France and Britain, allies in the war against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, took a lead in pushing UN moves against Syrian President Bashar Assad. But Russia, citing NATO's inconclusive bombing of Tripoli, said it would veto intervention against Syria in the United Nations Security Council.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, at UN headquarters in New York, said it was "a question of days, maybe hours" before the Council voted on a resolution condemning Syria. A draft circulated last month does not propose military intervention.

At Jisr al-Shughour, home to tens of thousands of people, residents said they were taking cover and bracing for attacks.

"The army is taking up position around Jisr al-Shughour," one anti-government activist told Reuters by telephone, saying residents have seen troops approaching the northeastern town from Aleppo, Syria's second city, and from Latakia on the coast.

"Most people have left the town because they are scared," he said, asking not to be named for his own safety. "They know the deaths will be high. People have gone to nearby villages close to the Turkish border. The doctors and nurses have also left."

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