24 Aug 2011

UN Western nations push for sanctions on Syria

9:24 pm on 24 August 2011

Western nations on the United Nations Security Council have circulated a draft sanctions resolution on Syria.

The move follows the release of a UN report that suggested Damascus may be guilty of crimes against humanity.

Last week, Western states said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should step down and have now circulated a draft Security Council resolution calling for targeted sanctions against him and members of his ruling circle, the BBC reports.

The resolution has been given urgency by a UN report documenting serious human rights violations carried out by the Syrian government which could constitute crimes against humanity.

But Russia, a heavyweight member of the council and staunch ally of President Assad, says it does not see the need to go beyond a council statement issued earlier in July condemning the violence in Syria.

The UN says more than 2200 people have died since anti-government protests began in mid-March.

The BBC reports a UN humanitarian mission is currently in Syria. It visited the city of Homs on Monday, but was advised to leave for security reasons when protests started.