© Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty ImagesWilliam Hague said the UN security council had a 'responsibility to speak out' against President Assad's crackdown. What he neglected to mention is that fact that Assad is up against an organised and ARMED insurrection.
Foreign secretary says draft resolution is in circulation among council members following crackdown on protesters

Britain is to push for a UN security council resolution condemning a crackdown on anti-government protesters in Syria.

The foreign secretary, William Hague, told parliament that the security council had a "responsibility to speak out" and warned of new European Union sanctions unless demands were met.

Hague said diplomats were circulating a draft resolution to secure the necessary support from the nine council members.

He said the proposals would bring action taken against Syria in line with measures imposed on other countries in the region facing political upheaval. However, they fell short of the no-fly zone mandated against Libya under a resolution passed earlier this year that launched a Nato bombing campaign against Muammar Gaddafi's forces.

"We must show the same resolve and purpose in supporting change and democratic development elsewhere in the region," Hague said.

The draft calls on Syria's president Bashar al-Assad and his government to capitulate to the demands of pro-democracy protesters, free "prisoners of conscience", lift internet restrictions and co-operate with UN human rights officials. It does not detail or threaten any UN sanctions.

"We are working to persuade other countries that the security council has a responsibility to speak out," he said. "President Assad is losing legitimacy and should reform or step aside."

Hague said an EU arms embargo, asset freeze and visa ban on 13 officials imposed against Syria last month had proved successful, but tougher measures could follow.

"We must show the same resolve and purpose in supporting change and democratic development elsewhere in the region, for example using the economic appeal of the EU to act as a magnet for positive change in the region.

"Since my last statement our efforts to agree EU sanctions against President Assad and other individuals responsible for the violence and repression in Syria have been successful. We are exploring with our European partners the potential for further sanctions if the violence continues."

Human rights groups claim that more than 1,000 people have been killed in more than three months of demonstrations in Syria.