Hague condemns 'unacceptable' Syria
Syria's ambassador in London has been summoned to the Foreign Office for a rebuke over the "utterly unacceptable" violence being inflicted on civilians in the country as President Bashar Assad's regime cracks down on dissent.
Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary William Hague recalled Britain's ambassador in Damascus, Simon Collis, to London for "consultations" on what he termed an "utterly unacceptable situation which demands a united international response".
In a statement to the House of Commons, Mr Hague vowed to continue efforts to put pressure on Damascus, including by EU sanctions, and condemned as "a betrayal of the Syrian people" the decision by Russia and China to veto a United Nations resolution designed to end the bloodshed.
Saturday's veto - described as "incomprehensible and inexcusable" by Downing Street - has been followed by a fresh wave of assaults on rebel strongholds, which has seen heavy artillery pounding the city of Homs.
Mr Hague left no doubt that he blames the Assad government for the "appalling" bloodshed and repression and said the regime was "doomed" because of its actions. He demanded assurances from Damascus that it would continue to ensure the protection of diplomats and staff at Britain's embassy, which remains in operation.
"The Syrian regime has deployed snipers, tanks, artillery and mortars against civilian protesters and population centres, particularly in the cities of Homs, Idlib, Hama and Deraa," Mr Hague told MPs.
"Thousands of Syrians have endured imprisonment, torture and sexual violence - including instances of the alleged rape of children - and the humanitarian position is deteriorating. The human suffering in Syria is already unimaginable and is in grave danger of escalating further."
Mr Hague condemned the vetoes as "a grave error of judgment" by the Russian and Chinese governments, which would increase the likelihood of civil war in the strategically significant Middle Eastern state.
He told MPs: "The Syrian regime may have drawn comfort from events at the UN Security Council, but we will do everything that we can to make sure that comfort is short-lived.
"This is a doomed regime as well as a murdering regime. There is no way it can recover its credibility internationally or with its own people. The UN Security Council's failure to agree a resolution does not signal the end of our efforts to end the violence in Syria."