Syrian opposition in Europe urges pressure on regime

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Syrian opposition activists in Europe urged the international community Sunday to increase pressure on President Bashar al-Assad and called for an independent investigation into his regime's deadly crackdown.

The roughly 200 activists gathered in Brussels also said charges should be laid against those responsible for violations of human rights in the repression, and cases brought before the International Criminal Court.

They wrapped up their two-day meeting as new clashes left more dead in Syria, where rights groups say more than 1,100 civilians have been killed and at least 10,000 arrested since protests erupted in mid-March.

"There needs to be more pressure on the regime," organisers of the Brussels meeting said in a statement.

"It is very important to impose diplomatic isolation on the Syrian regime, and to not allow it to be represented in international bodies," added the grouping, called the National Coalition of Support for the Syrian Revolution.

The European Union and the United States have already imposed sanctions on Assad and his inner circle.

The coalition dismissed as a "farce" the president's creation of body tasked with national dialogue.

A final resolution from their meeting announced the creation of a commission to evaluate rights violations by the regime with the purpose of laying charges and sending cases to the International Criminal Court.

It said the coalition also wanted to "communicate with international organisations with the aim of coming up with a resolution condemning the violence by the Syrian regime."

At a similar meeting in the Mediterranean resort of Antalya on Wednesday and Thursday, opposition groups urged Assad's immediate resignation and the holding of parliamentary and presidential elections within a year.

© 2011 AFP

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