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U.N. assembly slams Syrian government’s ‘escalation’ of war

Published: Updated:

The U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday condemned the Syrian government's ”escalation” of the country's war and backed the opposition Syrian National Coalition in transition talks.

The General Assembly (GA) voted on a Gulf Arab-drafted declaration to resolve the Syrian crisis.

While the non-binding text has no legal force, resolutions adopted by the 193-nation assembly can carry significant moral and political weight, according to Reuters.

The vote result - 107 in favor, 12 against and 59 abstentions - contrasted sharply with that of a resolution that passed last year with 133 in favor, Reuters said.

U.N. diplomats said, according to Reuters, that the decline in support for Wednesday's resolution showed growing unease about Syria's fractious rebel groups fighting Bashar al-Assad's forces in the two-year civil war.

The Syrian Ambassador to the U.N., Bashar Jafari, called on member states and the 'Friends of Syria' to vote against the draft resolution, saying it does not provide a political resolution to the ongoing Syrian crisis.

The Syrian U.N representative also questioned the feasibility of backing the SNC and supplying the opposition with weapons, while speaking at the GA.

In the same vain, Russia, China and Iran echoed Jafari’s call, saying that supporting and recognizing the opposition will not resolve the crisis.

The Iranian ambassador at the U.N., Mohammad Khazaee, said the Arab-backed draft resolution is considered a “deviation” from the United Nations’ principles.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia condemned the violence in war-torn Syria and called during the meeting for accepting the resolution, saying it backs the demands of the Syrian opposition.

Saudi Arabia’s U.N. Ambassador Abdallah al- Mouallimi blamed the Syrian government of killing and displacing civilians, adding that the number of those killed may have reached 80,000.

The vote comes as Britain and France delayed a Syrian request for the Islamist al-Nusra Front to be listed by the United Nations as a terrorist group.

The European countries said they want the militants to instead be listed as an alias of al-Qaeda, diplomats were quoted saying Tuesday by Reuters.

Wednesday’s vote comes as Washington and European governments have been mulling the benefits and risks of supplying arms to Syrian rebels.

The Syrian conflict started more than two years ago, but turned into a civil war where the United Nations says at least 70,000 people have been killed.