Syria 'spinning out of control:' US defense chief
BERLIN - Agence France-Presse
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. AP PhotoUS Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned today that the situation in Syria was "spinning out of control," after a suicide attack in Damascus killed two top Syrian security officials.
The international community must "bring maximum pressure on (Syrian President Bashar al-) Assad to do what's right, to step down and to allow for that peaceful transition," Panetta told reporters.
Merkel calls for 'urgent' UN action on Syria
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the suicide attack in Damascus Wednesday that reportedly claimed the lives of top officials underlined the "urgent" need for a new UN resolution on Syria.
Merkel said after talks with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra that she was aware of reports that the blast claimed the lives of Syria's defence minister, General Daoud Rajha, and President Bashar al-Assad's brother-in-law.
"This shows that it is urgent that the next UN resolution be passed, on which all states in the international community should work so that the abuse of human rights stops and the political process can move forward," she said.
"You see that such a solution has not been possible. That is why I urge all those on the UN Security Council to agree on a joint resolution." Syrian state television reported that Rajha and Assad's brother-in-law, deputy defence minister and former military intelligence chief Assef Shawkat, were killed in a suicide bomb attack targeting a meeting of top security chiefs.
The UN Security Council is expected to vote later Wednesday on a Western-backed resolution to consider sanctions if Assad's forces do not withdraw heavy weapons from Syrian cities within 10 days.
Syria's main ally Russia -- which has vowed to veto the resolution -- saw its own proposal rejected Tuesday by Britain, France, the United States, Germany and Portugal, diplomats said.
Britain says Syria bombing shows need for UN resolution
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said a suicide bombing that killed two top Syrian security officials on Wednesday showed the need for a UN resolution to end the crisis.
The UN Security Council will later Wednesday vote on a Western resolution renewing the UN mission in Syria that calls for sanctions if the regime does not pull back heavy weapons, but Russia has already rejected it.
"We are aware of reports that the Syrian Defence and Deputy Defence Ministers have been killed and a number of others injured by an apparent suicide bombing in Damascus," Hague said in a statement.
"This incident, which we condemn, confirms the urgent need for a Chapter VII resolution of the UN Security Council on Syria." Chapter VII of the UN charter deals with taking action against threats to peace and acts of aggression.