Syria's ambassador to the UN accuses Britain of declaring 'a diplomatic war'
- Bashar Ja'afari claims Britain, France and Germany are suffering from 'Syria-phobia'
- New UN resolution calls for Damascus to withdraw tanks from streets, stop attacks on civilians and the release of prisoners
- Turkish Prime Minister for the first time calls for President Assad to step down
Last updated at 7:35 PM on 22nd November 2011
'Syria-phobia': Ambassdor Bashar Ja'afari has accused Britain of waging a diplomatic war against his country
Syria's ambassador to the UN accused Britain of declaring political and diplomatic war against his country by sponsoring a resolution that condemns its human rights abuses.
Bashar Ja'afari said Britain, France and Germany were 'suffering from Syria-phobia' at a meeting of the UN General Assembly's human rights committee.
The non-binding resolution is expected to be adopted when all 193 member states vote later today and was also con-sponsored by Syria's fellow Arab nations Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and Bahrain.
Peter Wittig, Germany's ambassador to the UN, told the committee the international community must respond to the 'terrible atrocities' in Syria, where an estimated 3,500 people have been killed.
Last week, the 22-member Arab League decided to suspend Syria over its brutal crackdown and threatened economic sanctions if the regime continued to violate a peace plan.
Mr Ja'afari said the resolution was introduced 'in the context of declaring a political and media and diplomatic war on my country'.
President Assad blames the unrest on armed gangs carrying out a foreign agenda that seeks to destabilise Syria.
The uprising has been largely peaceful, but has grown increasingly militarised with army defectors fighting back and some protesters taking up arms.
Unrest: Thousands of protesters march in Kafranbel as calls for President Assad to step down increase
Brutal: Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces have killed an estimated 3,500 protesters after six months of demonstrations
The draft resolution calls on Syrian authorities to implement the Arab initiative, agreed earlier this month, 'without further delay'.
It calls for the withdrawal of tanks from the streets, the release of political prisoners, a halt on attacks on civilians and allowing observers into Syria.
And it 'strongly condemns the continued grave and systematic human rights violations by the Syrian authorities, such as arbitrary executions, excessive use of force and the killing and persecution of protesters and human rights defenders...'
It comes as Turkey's prime minister, who has been an outspoken critic of President Bashar Assad's eight-month crackdown on civilians, called for the first time for him to step down.
Recep Tayyip Ergodan reminded Assad of the bloody end of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi, as well as other dictators.
In a televised speech, he said: 'For the welfare of your own people and the region, just leave that seat.
'If you want to see someone who has fought until death against his own people, just look at Nazi Germany, just look at Hitler, at Mussolini, at Nicolae Ceausescu in Romania.
'If you cannot draw any lessons from these, then look at the Libyan leader who was killed just 32 days ago in a manner none of us wished and who used the same expression you used.'
A COUNTRY ON THE BRINK OF CIVIL WAR?
Armed response: Syrian colonel Riad al-Asaad, who leads a group of army defectors, appears on a video on the group's Facebook page
Attacks by army defectors are transforming the uprising into an armed insurgency that threatens to spiral into civil war.
The Free Syrian Army (FSA) holds no territory, appears disorganised and is up against a fiercely loyal military that will stop at nothing to protect the regime.
There are concerns the presence of an organised armed rebel group has given authorities a pretext to crack down even harder on dissent.
The sectarian divide - where members of Assad's minority Alawite sect rule over a Sunni Muslim majority - means an insurgency could escalate quickly.
Breakaway air force colonel Riad al-Asaad, who leds the FSA, said there were 15,000 defectors under his command and they were armed with rocket-propelled grenades, rifles and guns they took when they deserted.
The FSA has been behind a series of ambushes that have killed dozens of soldiers and security personnel.
Yesterday, Syrian soldiers opened fire on at least two buses carrying Turkish citizens in an apparent retaliation for Turkey's criticism of Assad.
Raids by security forces killed at least 13 people in central Syria, according to activists.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2064723/Syrias-ambassador-UN-accuses-Britain-declaring-diplomatic-war.html#ixzz1eTsqkACF