4 Aug 2011

UN council statement condemns use of force by Syria

10:53 am on 4 August 2011

The United Nations Security Council has condemned human rights violations and the use of force against civilians by Syrian government forces.

Fourteen members of the Security Council supported the statement but Lebanon, which borders Syria, dissociated itself from the condemnation.

A BBC correspondent says the council presidential statement is less binding than a full UN resolution.

However, the fact that influential states such as China and Russia - a strong ally of Syria - have supported it will send a message to Syria that what it is doing is condemned by the international community rather than Western nations alone.

There have been 1,600 civilian deaths in Syria in the five months since security forces moved to try to quell an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.

President Assad's government has promised reforms but says citizens and its troops are being attacked by armed gangs backed by unspecified foreign powers.