A boy climbs onto a destroyed Syrian Army tank after clashes in Azaz on August 3.
Credits: REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
OTTAWA -- The UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favour of its latest resolution on Syria, denouncing the violence there and insisting the country's biological and chemical weapons be kept on lockdown.
The 193-member council had 133 countries vote in favour of the resolution. Twelve countries, including Russia, voted against and 31 abstained.
A previous draft resolution tabled in February was vetoed by Russia and China - the two hold-out countries. The original draft contained two clauses that have since been removed. One called for Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to step down; the other urged other countries to impose further sanctions.
Ahead of Friday's vote, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon referred to the atrocities that took place in Rwanda and Bosnia during the 90s to remind member countries of the cost of doing nothing. The UN came under immense criticism after those two wars for not doing enough to stop what was widely regarded as genocide.
While the UN resolution is neither binding nor enforceable, Fen Hampson, professor of international affairs at Carleton University, said that doesn't mean it is worthless.
"A strong vote like that in the General Assembly puts pressure on other countries - Russia and China - further isolating and embarrassing them," he said.
Russia is currently sending three large landing ships to a port in Syria, according to reports, where it says it will replenish its own marine supplies. Earlier reports said Russian ships would be sent in case the Syrian government needed backup.
"Like all UN resolutions, this is symbolic," Hampson said. "But it's also more than symbolic. It's saying Syria should stop the bloodshed."