Middle East

Qatar FM urges UN to 'impose' a Syria ceasefire

A Syrian man sits near campaign posters of the June 3 presidential election in Damascus, Syria, Monday, May 12, 2014. (AP Photo)

DOHA: The UN Security Council should impose a ceasefire to end the bloodshed in Syria, Qatar's foreign minister said Monday, accusing the Damascus regime of using poison gas against rebel-held areas.

"It is imperative that the UN Security Council assume its responsibilities and force the implementation of its resolutions for a ceasefire, to protect the Syrian people from killing and displacement," Khalid al-Attiyah told participants in the Doha Forum.

He accused President Bashar al-Assad's government of using "poison gas, in a flagrant challenge to the international community and in violation of international laws".

Qatar is a major backer of the rebellion against Assad.

More than 150,000 people have been killed in Syria's conflict, which began in mid-March 2011 with anti-government protests.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said in late April that it was sending a fact-finding mission to probe allegations that Damascus used chlorine gas in attacks on a rebel-held village in central Hama province.

Syria has handed over or destroyed all but around eight percent of its chemical weapons material under the terms of the US- and Russian-brokered deal which averted the threat of American military action last year.

Attiyah said the international community should realise the "need to end the bloodshed, destruction and human crisis faced by the Syrian people", the QNA state news agency reported.

The international community should help the Syrian people "realise its legitimate aspirations for (political) change" and protect Syria's territorial integrity, he added.

The UN Security Council has repeatedly failed to pass strong resolutions against Syria because of the objections of key Assad ally Russia and China.





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