World must do more to isolate Syria: Britain's Cameron

AFP , Thursday 7 Jun 2012

British PM says massacre committed by Syrian regime is another brutal and sickening attack, urges international community to do more to isolate Assad

Bodies of Syrian children in, Mazraat al-Qubair on the outskirts of Hama. (Photo: AP)

The international community has to do more to isolate the Syrian regime after the latest "brutal and sickening" massacre in the country, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Thursday.

"We need to do much more to isolate Syria, to isolate the regime, to put the pressure on and to demonstrate that the whole world wants to see a political transition from this illegitimate regime to actually see one that can take care of its people," Cameron told reporters during a quick stop in Oslo.

Pro-regime militiamen armed with guns and knives swept through the village of Al-Kubeir in central Syria Wednesday, slaughtering 87 people, including women and children, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

The exiled opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) had given an initial estimate of 100 dead.

The Syrian government has adamantly denied responsibility for the killings, claiming that a "terrorist group" was behind the attack, which it said had claimed nine victims.

"If these reports are true, it is yet another brutal and sickening attack, and frankly the international community has got to condemn absolutely this regime and President Assad for what he is doing," Cameron said.

"I think that leaders of different countries in the world -- countries that sit around the UN Security Council table -- they need to sit down today, discuss this issue and none of them should be able to hide from the facts," he said, in an apparent reference to Russia and China.

The two countries have consistently opposed international intervention in Syria, but they face growing pressure to change their stance after 15 months of conflict in which more than 13,500 people are said to have died.

The United States has meanwhile said that the UN Charter's Chapter VII, which authorizes member states to take "all necessary measures" to carry out specific UN Security Council decisions, remains an option. It can be used in some cases to authorize military action.

"It really is appalling what is happening in that country, and I want to see concerted action by the international community," Cameron insisted Thursday.

UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan set to address the United Nations General Assembly later Thursday, and after that the Security Council about the situation in Syria.

Annan is considering proposing that Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia join the permanent members of the Security Council -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- in a so-called Contact Group aimed at increasing pressure on Assad, Le Monde and the Washington Post reported Wednesday.

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