Syria news: Britain and US demand further action at UN as Homs is bombarded for 11th day | Mail Online
Britain and U.S. join forces to demand further action at the UN as Syria continues bombardment of Homs for ELEVENTH day
Britain and the U.S. have joined forces to demand the United Nations take further action in Syria, as President Bashar Assad’s brutal military crackdown shows no sign of stopping.
Prime Minister David Cameron and U.S. President Barack Obama agreed in a telephone call last night on the ‘need for international unity’ – as the city of Homs was bombarded by rockets and mortars for a eleventh consecutive day.
Today’s attacks saw Assad’s troops attacking rebels and homes on several fronts, with Homs succumbing to severe food and fuel shortages as residents remain trapped inside their homes.
The need, Cameron’s spokesman said, included: ‘Further action at the UN and a broad and strong coalition in the new Friends of Syria group.’
Warzone: Syrian army tanks are now a regular sight on the streets of Homs, as Assad continues to fight the 11-month uprising
Joining forces: British PM David Cameron (left) and U.S. President Barack Obama (right) want the UN to take further action in Syria
The two leaders, who are reluctant to get dragged in militarily, also ‘discussed the possibility of increasing the pressure on the Assad regime through additional sanctions’.
The conversation came after the Arab League floated ideas to send in a joint U.N.-Arab peacekeeping force.
That plan has been backed in part by the Obama administration, which feared it would be difficult to gain authorisation by the UN Security Council.
Chief among the hurdles is opposition by Russia and China, which vetoed a far less ambitious Security Council action already this month.
Russia has said peacekeepers could not be sent without Syrian government approval, and officials in Damascus have already rejected the proposal, calling it unjustified interference in internal affairs.
‘We support the Arab League’s decisions … to try to end the violence and move toward a transition,’ Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.
Destruction: A house in Homs has been left as rubble after being shelled by Syrian forces
Raining down: Bombs continue to fall on the city of Homs as the crackdown continues into a second week
‘There are a lot of challenges to be discussed as to how to put into effect all of their recommendations. And certainly, the peacekeeping request is one that will take agreement and consensus.
‘So, we don’t know that it is going to be possible to persuade Syria. They have already as of today rejected that, but I think this is what we are trying to explore,’ she told reporters after meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu at the State Department.
At the White House, press secretary Jay Carney said the administration has begun discussions with the UN, the Arab League and allies about how an eventual peacekeeping force could work.
He said nothing about any U.S. participation, but it would be unlikely in the near term.
Wounded: A young girl, injured in shelling earlier this month, sits in her Homs home as the brutal crackdown on opposition against Assad continues
Destruction: Homs, which is the centre of the uprising against Assad, is still being bombarded by rockets and mortars
For now, talk of a peacekeeping force is preliminary, and largely theoretical. Carney said the discussion is about how peacekeepers ‘could help to maintain peace in Syria, starting with there being a peace to keep’.
A February 24 meeting is scheduled in Tunisia of the Friends of Syria group that will plot efforts to compel Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime to end its brutal crackdown on opponents.
Training: Syrian rebels rehearse their moves which they continue to use against Assad’s forces
Making a noise: Despite unleashing thousands of mortars and rockets onto Homs, Assad has still not put down the rebel uprising against his rule
Ahead of that meeting, Clinton said the U.S., Turkey and other supporters of the Arab League plan would be discussing ways to support the opposition and expand the delivery of humanitarian supplies to those in need.
Among the topics of discussion will be intensifying sanctions and diplomatic pressure on Assad and his inner circle, greater outreach to regime opponents in and outside of the country and boosting financial contributions to organizations like the International Committee for the Red Cross and Red Crescent that are working in Syria.
Scars: Doctors said they are treating dozens of young Syrians injured during the violence at a hospital run by Paris-based Medecins Sans Frontieres in Amman
Maimed: All five men have undergone reconstructive surgeries at Red Crescent Hospital in Amman