Syrian opposition hails U.N. vote condemning escalation

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Syria’s main opposition bloc, the National Coalition, hailed a U.N. General Assembly vote on Wednesday to condemn President Bashar al-Assad’s regime over its “escalation” of the country’s civil war.

“The Syrian Coalition welcomes today’s resolution... condemning the Syrian regime’s illegitimate and brutal use of force against its own citizens in its continued refusal to acknowledge the legitimate democratic aspirations of the Syrian people,” said the Coalition.

The opposition alliance, which has been recognized by several Western and Arab states as the sole legitimate representative of Syrian people, said the vote reflected mounting concerns over atrocities in the conflict.

“Two years ago thousands of Syrians took to the streets calling for political change and democracy. Their peaceful demonstrations were brutally suppressed.

“Since then, the regime has employed a deliberate policy of violence, relying on long-range artillery, air force and ballistic missiles against a civilian population unable to defend itself.”

Wednesday’s resolution was adopted by 107 countries in the 193-member assembly, down from 133 when the last vote was held in August.

The Coalition said the vote made clear the international community “will no longer accept that such violence and grave human rights abuses continue unabated.”

But it warned that much more needed to be done to end the suffering of the Syrian people.

“International supporters of the Syrian people must intensify their efforts to advance the prospects of achieving a democratic transition.

“More pressure is needed to force the regime to allow humanitarian access to the millions of Syrians in need of immediate assistance.

“And the groundwork needs to be laid now to ensure that perpetrators of war crimes will one day be held accountable for their criminal acts.”

The Coalition said it was prepared to support all political measures to end this conflict.

“We reaffirm our commitment to any international effort that aims at steering our country towards a more peaceful and democratic future,” it said.

Russia, the Assad regime’s most powerful ally, fiercely opposed the resolution, labeling it a potential obstacle to peace negotiations expected to be held in Geneva next month.