UN to Vote on Syria Resolution

Posted October 4th, 2011 at 2:00 am (UTC-5)
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Diplomats say the U.N. Security Council may vote Tuesday on a European-drafted resolution condemning Syria's brutal crackdown against civilians.

The proposal threatens “targeted measures” against President Bashar al-Assad's government if it does not halt its military assault on pro-democracy protesters.

Russia is against imposing sanctions on Syria, and diplomats say it is unclear whether Moscow will veto the resolution or abstain from voting.

In Syria, activists say security forces in and around the rebellious central town of Rastan have arrested up to 3,000 people since Saturday in an effort to track down military defectors. Syria's official SANA news agency puts the number of arrests “in the dozens.”

The military is reported to have deployed more forces in the town of Talbiseh, near Homs – another area that has defied government authority for months.

Syria has been using military force to crush almost seven months of largely peaceful opposition protests demanding an end to Mr. Assad's 11-year autocratic rule.

The United Nations says at least 2,700 people have been killed in the crackdown. The Syrian government says the dead include hundreds of security personnel killed by what it calls “armed terrorist groups.”

Meanwhile, Amnesty International says embassy officials and others working on behalf of the Syrian government have been harassing Syrian protesters abroad.

The group released a report Monday citing the cases of more than 30 activists in eight countries, including the United States, Britain, France and Chile. It says the protesters received phone calls, emails and Facebook messages warning them to stop, and several reported that their families in Syria had been targeted by security forces.

Amnesty International called on countries to take stronger action against embassies accused of carrying out such harassment, and to protect the right of free expression.