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Syrian activist urges diplomatic boycott, pressure on Russia

A leading Syrian human rights activist on Thursday urged the international community to cut diplomatic ties with Damascus and up pressure on Russia to stop blocking UN action against the regime there.

“So far 5,000 people have been killed in Syria, among them are 277 children, 159 women and a lot of people were killed under torture. All this is happening in cold blood and the international community is watching and doing nothing,” Rami Abdurrahman, founder of the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Thursday on the sidelines of a European Union conference in Warsaw.

The United Nations this week estimated that more than 5,000 people have been killed in the Syrian government’s 10-month crackdown on dissent.

Meanwhile Human Rights Watch said in a report that Syrian military commanders ordered troops to indiscriminately shoot at unarmed protests and squash demonstrations “by all means necessary.”

“So far the West hasn’t cut diplomatic relations with Syria, so they need to withdraw their ambassadors from Damascus,” Abdurrahman said, adding that countries should also send President Bashar al-Assad’s envoys home.

He also called on EU members to “put pressure on Russia to change its attitude towards Syria.”

“Russia’s support, that is the main problem,” he said but stressed Syrians did not want the West to engage in any military action similar to the NATO air strikes which played a key role in toppling the regime of Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi, he said.

“First of all we do not want an intervention, we do not want a war as happened in Libya, because the price is so high and we do not have enough petrol to repair the damage we will have,” Abdurrahman underlined.

The standoff between Moscow and the West over Syria intensified this week when Russia slammed as “immoral” Western accusations it was blocking UN action condemning the regime’s deadly crackdown.

Washington has expressed frustration over what it sees as efforts by Russia and China to stymie UN action on Syria.

The two nations, which like the United States are permanent members of the Security Council, used a rare double veto in October to block a Western-backed resolution condemning Assad’s regime.