In its first meaningful action since the Syria uprising began five months ago, the UN Security Council issued a statement yesterday condemning the government's use of force against civilians. The statement, finally agreed upon after three days of talks, "condemn[s] widespread violations of human rights" and calls on both sides to stop the violence. Western powers wanted a stronger statement or even a resolution, but Russia and China were among the nations insisting against such a move. In a rare move, Syria's neighboring nation Lebanon disassociated itself from the statement, al-Jazeera reports.
Meanwhile, violence continued, particularly in Hama, where an activist says 45 more civilians have been killed since yesterday. Reuters offers terrifying accounts, though not independently verified: Five people, including two children, killed as they tried to flee; tanks advancing into central Hama; snipers appearing on rooftops. The US and Turkey have hardened their stances, with a White House spokesman stating that "Syria would be a better place without President Assad" and the Turkish deputy PM stating that Syria is "making a big mistake." A London-based human rights observatory says 1,629 civilians and 374 security force members have been killed since March.