UN Condemns Syria as 45 More Die
Security Council issues statement, falls short of resolution
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2011 7:53 AM CDT
In this image made from video released by the so-called Shams News Network, a loosely organized anti-Assad group, a man who appears to be injured is transported by men on a motorcycle in Hama, Syria.   (AP Photo/APTN)

(Newser) – 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.