Syria's United Nations ambassador has accused Britain and other European powers of declaring political and diplomatic war against his country by sponsoring a resolution that would condemn the country's human rights abuses.
Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari said Britain, France and Germany were "suffering from Syria-phobia".
He spoke at a meeting of the UN General Assembly's human rights committee after Germany's ambassador Peter Wittig introduced the non-binding resolution. It is expected to be adopted when the committee, which includes all 193 UN member states, votes.
Mr Wittig said 60 countries were co-sponsoring the resolution including Syria's fellow Arab nations Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Morocco and Bahrain, and neighbour Turkey, which has been outspoken in its criticism of President Bashar Assad's eight-month crackdown on civilians.
He told the committee the international community must respond to the "terrible atrocities" in Syria, where the UN estimates that 3,500 have been killed, and "the current grave and systematic violations of human rights".
The European sponsors decided to press for the resolution after the 22-member Arab League decided last week to suspend Damascus over the crackdown and threatened economic sanctions if the regime continued to violate an Arab-brokered peace plan. It went ahead with the suspension after rejecting Syrian amendments to its plan to send monitors to the country.
Mr Ja'afari said the resolution was introduced "in the context of declaring a political and media and diplomatic war on my country".
Mr Assad's regime blames the country's unrest on armed gangs carrying out a foreign agenda that seeks to destabilise Syria. The uprising has been largely peaceful, but has grown increasingly militarised with army defectors fighting back and some protesters taking up arms.
The draft resolution calls on Syrian authorities to implement the Arab initiative, agreed to earlier this month, "without further delay". It calls for the withdrawal of government tanks from the streets, the release of political prisoners, a halt to attacks on civilians and allowing observers in.
The draft calls on Syrian authorities "to immediately put an end to all human rights violations" and protect the population.