U.N. to Discuss Syria after Latest Crackdown
The United Nations Security Council is expected to discuss human rights and the humanitarian emergency in Syria after at least 16 people were killed as thousands of protesters rallied after Ramadan weekly prayers.
The Security Council will hold a special meeting next Thursday, diplomats at the United Nations announced.
In a Twitter statement, France's U.N. mission said U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay and U.N. undersecretary for humanitarian affairs Valerie Amos, will brief the meeting.
As the West grapples with ways to pressure Damascus into ending the bloodshed, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged countries to stop trading with Syria.
"We urge those countries still buying Syrian oil and gas, those countries still sending Assad weapons... to get on the right side of history," Clinton told reporters.
"President Assad has lost the legitimacy to lead and it is clear that Syria would be better off without him," Clinton told a news conference with Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere.
But she stopped short of explicitly urging Assad to step down -- a call which U.S. officials have said President Barack Obama's administration has decided to make, although it has not finalized the timing.
Clinton also said the U.S. Ambassador to Damascus, Robert Ford, delivered a "clear message" when he met Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem on Thursday.
"Immediately stop the violence, withdraw your security forces, respond to the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people for a democratic transition in concrete and meaningful ways," she said, reading out the message.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said that 2,150 people have been confirmed dead since the protests began in mid-March -- 1,744 civilians and 406 members of the security forces.