Syrian opposition tell Assad to quit immediately

Syrian opposition groups called Thursday for President Bashar al-Assad's immediate resignation, in a joint declaration at the end of a two-day meeting in Turkey.

The statement, read out in the Mediterranean resort of Antalya, urged the "immediate resignation of President Bashar al-Assad from all functions he occupies."

It urged the holding of "parliamentary and presidential elections within a period that will not exceed one year" following Assad's resignation.

The dissidents vowed "to do whatever it is up to them to bring down the regime" in Syria, welcoming the declaration with applause.

Fears over crackdown

UN genocide prevention experts warned the Syrian authorities Thursday over "apparently systematic and deliberate attacks" on unarmed civilians.

Putting new UN pressure on President Bashar al-Assad's regime over his crackdown, UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon's special advisors on prevention of genocide and responsibility to protect civilian populations said they were "gravely concerned" at the growing death toll from the "violent suppression" of protests.

"We are particularly alarmed at the apparently systematic and deliberate attacks by police, military, and other security forces against unarmed civilians taking part in the last two months of protests," said the advisors Francis Deng and Edward Luck.

"The systematic and widespread attacks that are alleged to have taken place in Syria appear primarily to have targeted the civilian population," they said in a joint statement.

"This underscores the need for an independent, thorough, and objective investigation into all alleged violations of international human rights law," the experts said.

Syria has refused to let a UN human rights mission into the country to investigate the crackdown which is said to have left hundreds dead. The UN Security Council is negotiating a resolution which would condemn the violence.

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