In a government-orchestrated campaign to counter international pressure, hundreds of thousands of civil servants and students took Monday off to protest a UN report implicating Syria
in the killing of a former Lebanese prime minister.
The action appeared to be a last ditch effort by the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad to win support a day before a UN Security Council meeting is expected to convene and pile up the pressure on Damascus.
While the United States and Britain are pushing for an international stand against Syria in the wake of a damning UN report into Rafik Hariri's
Feb. 14 killing, France indicated Monday it would not support sanctions against Syria before the ongoing probe had finished its work.