Britain urges 'strong international response' on Syria

26th May 2012, Comments 0 comments

Britain said Saturday it was in urgent talks with allied countries on "a strong international response" after the bodies of more than 90 people including children were found in a Syrian town.

"We are consulting urgently with our allies on a strong international response, including at the UN Security Council, the EU and UN human rights bodies," Foreign Secretary William Hague said.

Britain will seek an urgent session of the Security Council in coming days, Hague said, in response to what he called "credible and horrific reports that a large number of civilians have been massacred" by Syrian forces in Houla.

"Our urgent priority is to establish a full account of this appalling crime and to move swiftly to ensure that those responsible are identified and held to account," he said.

Hague called for the Syrian regime to cease all military operations in accordance with a peace plan brokered by UN special envoy Kofi Annan, and to allow monitors "full and immediate access" to Houla and other conflict areas.

The shelling of the town of Houla by regime forces began at around midday on Friday and continued until dawn on Saturday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

In Damascus, UN mission chief General Robert Mood said in a statement the monitors had counted more than 92 bodies in the town, including more than 32 children, and called the incident a "brutal tragedy".

The rebel Free Syrian Army said after the killings that it was no longer committed to the UN-backed peace plan for Syria unless there was prompt UN intervention to protect civilians.

© 2012 AFP

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