Outrage as Assad's forces rake city with machinegun fire
Published 17/08/2011 | 05:00
Britain, America and a number of international bodies have reacted with outrage to a fierce and apparently random assault on a Syrian coastal city that now includes the use of raking machinegun fire, by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
William Hague, the British foreign secretary, issued a statement saying Assad was "fast losing the last shreds of his legitimacy", adding his words to those of the White House, which said he had already lost legitimacy.
The United Nations Council on Human Rights called an emergency meeting in response to the continuing violence in Latakia, where a reported naval bombardment at the weekend has been followed by a military assault that has included "intense" machinegun fire, according to rights groups.
There were even signs of consternation in Syria's last remaining ally, Iran.
An opposition website in Tehran linked to the 'Green Movement' claimed that the Iranian ambassador to Damascus was seeking to pull out, citing an unnamed diplomat who said that embassy staff were concerned about violent retribution for Iran's backing of Assad if he were toppled.
The flight of thousands of Palestinians on Monday from a refugee camp caused particular outrage across the Arab world.
Arab countries mainly have refrained from attacking Assad, but there are signs that patience is running out. (© Daily Telegraph, London)