News / Middle East

UN Members Condemn Syrian Crackdown

Margaret Besheer

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is facing mounting international pressure to end his crackdown on dissent as the death toll from the country's violence continues to rise.

The U.N. General Assembly's human rights committee voted Tuesday to "strongly condemn" Syria's deadly crackdown on dissent.

The U.N. resolution calls on Damascus to implement an Arab League initiative that would allow the league to send monitors to Syria. The pan-Arab group, which has suspended Syria's membership, plans to meet on Thursday to discuss the country's crisis.

Amnesty International welcomed Tuesday's U.N. committee vote. The rights group has accused Syrian authorities of human rights violations.

Syrian activists say security forces killed at least 12 people across the country on Tuesday, including several children. The U.N. says the government crackdown has resulted in more than 3,500 deaths over the past eight months.

Earlier in the day, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on Assad to step down. In a televised speech, he said the Syrian president should cede power for the welfare of his own people and the region.

On Monday, relations between the neighboring countries became more strained after gunmen in northern Syria fired on a convoy of buses carrying Turkish pilgrims. Two Turkish citizens were wounded.

``If you want to see somebody who has fought against its own people until death, look at Nazi Germany, look at Hitler, Mussolini, Romania's Nicolae Ceausescu," said Erdogan. "If you don't draw lessons from these, then look at the Libyan leader who was killed just 32 days ago after pointing guns at his own people and using the same expressions as you.''

"`I repeat my call to Bashar Assad. You should first find those who attacked Turkey's diplomatic missions, Turkish flag and pilgrims who were passing by your territory and bring them to justice. Without spilling any more blood, without causing any more injustice, for the sake of peace for the people, the country and the region,  finally step down."

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