Hague increases pressure on Syria over Houla massacre

Images of massacre of 90 people, including 32 children, provoke outrage

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The Independent Online

The Foreign Secretary William Hague will summon the Syrian charge d'affairs to the Foreign Office tomorrow in order to express Britain's condemnation of the massacre in Houla.

According to reports from UN observers more than 90 people were killed in villages in the Houla area of central Syria on Saturday.

At least 32 of those killed were children under 10.

Images of the massacre have provoked international outrage, and have prompted William Hague to call for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council in order to plan a response.

Mr Hague has also increased the diplomatic pressure on Syria today.

In a message on the social networking site Twitter Mr Hague said, 'Charge d'affaires at Syrian Embassy in London will be summoned to @foreignoffice tomorrow at my instruction over #houlamassacre'.

The UN monitoring mission in Syria has also condemned the killings in 'the strongest possible terms'.

The massacre in Houla has called into question the effectiveness of the UN-monitored ceasefire in the country, and has escalated calls for further co-ordinated international action against President Bashar al-Assad and his regime.

Responding to the killings US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, said Bashar Assad's “rule by murder and fear” must end.

She also demanded that, “those who perpetrated this atrocity must be identified and held to account”.

Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, speaking on the Andrew Marr show today said, “The scenes of savagery that we have seen on our television screens are revolting, stomach-churning.”

Mr Clegg also said members of the regime would be banned from the Olympics, saying that if any of the Olympic delegation were part of the ruling regime they would be denied entry to the UK.

Mr Clegg said new rules preventing entry for people who are not “conducive to the public good”, could be applied. 

"As far as we are concerned we have recently said very clearly if you have abused human rights and that is shown to be the case you can't come into this country," he said.

Asked whether anyone connected to the Syria atrocities would be prevented from coming to London for the Olympics, he said: "Of course, what I can't tell you is exactly who those names are."

Syria's foreign ministry today denied government troops were behind the Houla attack.