UN Rights Body Slams Syria, Calls For Aid Access

By Salon Staff

Published March 1, 2012 9:36AM (EST)

GENEVA (AP) — The U.N.'s top human rights body has condemned Syria for its "widespread and systematic violations" against civilians in the crackdown on opposition groups.

Members of the U.N. Human Rights Council on Thursday voted 37 in favor and three against a resolution proposed by Turkey. Three members of the 47-nation body abstained and four didn't vote.

The resolution calls on Syria to immediately stop all attacks on civilians and grant unhindered access to aid groups.

Russia, China and Cuba objected to the resolution.

The Geneva-based council's vote carries no legal weight but diplomats consider it a strong moral signal that may encourage a similar resolution in the powerful U.N. Security Council.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian activists say government forces have cut off communications to a rebel-held district in Homs, jamming satellite phone signals as they mass for an apparent ground assault.

The Baba Amr neighborhood in Syria's central city of Homs has been under siege for a month. Hundreds have died in shelling.

Authorities had previously blocked land and mobile phone lines, but activists were able to communicate with the outside world with satellite phones.

On Thursday, the activist Revolutionary Council of Homs based elsewhere in the city said it could no longer reach anyone inside the district. All satellite signals were jammed, it said.

The Syrian government vowed Wednesday to "cleanse" the Baba Amr from "gunmen", as activists reported troops massing outside.

Salon Staff

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