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Syria under fresh pressure as new draft looms at UN

By Wang Xiangjiang (Xinhua)

08:17, February 14, 2012

UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- Syria came under fresh pressure on Monday from states seeking UN action against its crackdown on protesters, as a new Arab-backed draft resolution surfaced amid a heated debate at the General Assembly.

SYRIA UNDER FIRE

The General Assembly opened a plenary session on Monday morning to discuss the human rights situation in Syria, with member states including Arab nations, EU countries, the United States, Russia and China taking the floor to deliver sometimes conflicting views.

Also speaking at the forum was UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, who claimed that crimes against humanity in Syria "are likely to have been committed."

Expressing concerns over the possibility of a civil war in Syria, she said the international community "must act now to urgently protect" the Syrian population.

Back in December, Pillay had asked the Security Council to refer alleged "crimes against humanity" to the International Criminal Court (ICC), although such a move seems unlikely at least for now given the deep rift among council members.

UN envoys from Arab nations including Saudi Arabia, the United States and its allies also spoke against the Syrian government over mounting civilian casualties, continuing their efforts to pile pressure on and isolate Syria.

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