Hague condemns Syria killings

The Foreign Secretary William Hague has condemned the reported killing of 85 people in Damascus by Syrian forces as "another reminder of the callous brutality of the Assad regime."

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EU eases oil sanctions on Syria to help rebels

European Union governments have agreed to ease sanctions on Syria to allow for purchases of crude from the opposition, in the hope of throwing a financial lifeline to rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad.

Under the new rules European importers can buy oil from suppliers approved by an opposition umbrella group.

The decision was taken at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg this afternoon.

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Syria reports are 'reminder of regime's callous brutality'

The Foreign Secretary has called the reported massacre in Jdaidet al-Fadl "another reminder of the callous brutality of the Assad regime and the terrible climate of impunity inside Syria."

I am appalled by the reports of the killing by Syrian Government forces of dozens of people, including women and children, in the town of Jdaidet Al-Fadl, a suburb of Damascus. This is yet another reminder of the callous brutality of the Assad regime and the terrible climate of impunity inside Syria.

It underlines the urgent need to bring the conflict in Syria to an end. At the Friends of Syria Core Group meeting with the Syrian opposition National Coalition in Istanbul we agreed to redouble efforts to reach a political resolution and increase support to the opposition, and I will be discussing these efforts with European Foreign Ministers today.

– William Hague, Foreign Secretary

Activists say Syrian forces 'kill 85' in Damascus

Syrian forces and militia loyal to President Bashar Assad have killed at least 85 people, including women and children, when they stormed a Damascus suburb after five days of fighting, opposition activists told Reuters.

Abu Ahmad al-Rabi', an activist in the adjacent district of Jdeidet Artouz said:

We documented 85 summarily executed, including 28 shot at a makeshift hospital after Assad's forces went in Jdeidet al-Fadel. We fear that the victims of the massacre are much higher.

John Kerry: 'Syrian assistance for food and medical aid'

US Secretary of State John Kerry said that $127 million of non-lethal assistance already given to Syrian opposition is providing food, medical kits and support for local leaders.

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He said: "For the last several months we have steadily increased our non-lethal assistance to more than $127 million and that aid is providing food now, medical kits now, and support for local leaders who are trying to lay the groundwork for a stable and a democratic future."

Hague: 'EU to discuss easing Syrian arms embargo'

The European Union will discuss the question of easing an arms embargo preventing weapons supplies to Syrian rebels in the coming weeks, Foreign Secretary William Hague said at a meeting of the "Friends of Syria" in Istanbul.

This is a discussion we have to have in the EU over the next six weeks. We and France have said there will be a strong case for lifting the embargo, amending the embargo.

– William Hague, Foreign Secretary

He said the opposition had given the clearest commitment yet at the meeting to working towards a democratic solution in Syria and condemning extremism.

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