Egypt asks West to intervene in Syria as crackdown continues
Egypt is trying to coordinate a visit of a Western envoy to Syria, where a violent crackdown on anti-government protests is under way, a regional daily reported Sunday.
Foreign Minister Nabil al-Arabi told al-Hayat daily that Egypt was working "behind curtains" in an effort to prevent a decision against Syria by the United Nations Security Council, dpa reported.
Al-Arabi also said he hoped that Syria is serious about reform, and urged the government to begin implementing reforms immediately.
At least 1,300 people have been killed and over 10,000 detained since anti-government protests began mid-March, according to rights groups and activists. Due to restrictions on journalists in the country, reports are difficult to verify.
Al-Arabi's remarks come after government tanks advanced inside the north-western town of Jisr al-Shaghur late Saturday, after they were randomly shooting at houses for two days.
The government says it is trying to restore security in the town, located near the Turkish borders, after it said over 120 security personnel had been killed by armed groups there.
However, opposition members maintain the deaths were of defectors who were executed by their fellow soldiers.
More than 4,000 people fled the town across the Turkish border.
The US government called on Damascus to halt its offensive in northern Syria and to allow the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) access to the region amid the "humanitarian crisis."
There was "no excuse" for the Syrian government to refuse to allow the ICRC to provide humanitarian assistance, the White House said.