Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Britain led international outrage over Syria's continuing fierce and apparently random assault on a coastal city, that now includes the use of raking machine gunfire, by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.

William Hague, the foreign secretary, issued a statement saying President Assad was "fast losing the last shreds of his legitimacy", adding his words to those of the White House, which said he had already lost legitimacy.

The United Nations Council on Human Rights called an emergency meeting in response to the violence in Latakia, where an alleged naval bombardment at the weekend has been followed by a military assault that has included "intense" machine gun fire, according to rights groups.

There were even signs of consternation in Syria's last remaining ally, Iran.

An opposition website in Tehran linked to the "Green Movement" claimed that the Iranian ambassador to Damascus was seeking to pull out, citing an unnamed diplomat who said that embassy staff were concerned about violent retribution for Iran's backing of President Assad if he were toppled.

The flight of thousands of Palestinians on Monday from a refugee camp caused particular outrage across the Arab world. Arab countries have by and large refrained from attacking President Assad, but there are increasing signs that patience is running out.


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