Britain, Italy condemn Syria crackdown
Britain and Italy on Monday condemned "unacceptable" violence in Syria after deadly assaults by security forces on anti-regime protesters.
"We agreed that the situation in Syria is deeply troubling, and that violence against protesters is unacceptable," British Foreign Secretary William Hague said after talks with Italian counterpart Franco Frattini in London.
Hague called on the government of President Bashar al-Assad "to respect the right to free speech and to peaceful protest."
The regime must "put in train the meaningful political reform which is the only legitimate response to demands from the Syrian people," he urged.
The condemnation came as Syrian students rallied in Damascus to express solidarity with protesters killed over the weekend.
Twenty-six people were killed on Friday in Daraa, a southern town which has become a hub for protests, according to rights groups, while witnesses said a weekend crackdown left four civilians dead in the town of Banias.
© 2011 AFP