1 of 3 | Demonstrators gather during a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, in Al-drbaseh,Northern Syria, February 14, 2012. Syrian government forces renewed their assault on the rebellious city of Homs on Tuesday in what activists described as the heaviest shelling in days, as the U.N. human rights chief raised fears of civil war. UPI | License Photo
TUNIS, Tunisia, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- "We have seen enough" to know that Syrian President Bashar Assad will go down in history as a criminal, the British foreign secretary said from Tunisia.
International delegates gathered in Tunisia for a so-called Friends of Syria conference. British Foreign Secretary William Hague said he hoped the international community would tighten the "diplomatic and economic stranglehold" on Assad's regime.
A U.N. panel, in a 72-page report, said there was evidence that officials at the "highest level of government" were behind the 11-month assault on anti-regime groups inside the country. As many as 6,000 people have been killed in the country since the uprising began, including scores killed recently in a siege on Homs.
"I think we have seen enough in the last few weeks to know that the Assad regime will go down in history as a criminal regime," said Hague in a statement from Tunisia.
He said the British government would recognize the opposition Syrian National Council as the "legitimate representative of the Syrian people."
Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced Friday he accepted a request from the United Nations and Arab League to serve as a joint special envoy on the Syrian crisis.
"I look forward to having the full cooperation of all relevant parties and stakeholders in support of this united and determined effort by the United Nations and the Arab League to help bring an end to the violence and human rights abuses, and promote a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis," he said in a statement.