May 15 (RIA Novosti) – The United Nations on Wednesday approved a resolution supporting Syrian opposition forces, calling for a political transition there and condemning the forces of President Bashar al-Assad in a vote backed by the United States but rejected by Russia as “irresponsible.”
The non-binding resolution was approved by the General Assembly with a vote of 107-12, with 59 abstentions. Support for the Syrian opposition was weaker however than when a similar UN resolution was passed last August by a vote of 133-12, with 31 abstentions.
Some analysts see the reduced support as a sign of growing concern about Syria’s splintered rebel groups.
The two-year old civil war in Syria has killed at least 80,000 people according to UN figures.
The resolution approved Wednesday was drafted by Qatar and had strong backing among Arab nations and the United States.
China however also opposed the resolution and Russia, a close ally of Syria, lobbied against it and condemned the text before it was approved.
“It is particularly irresponsible and counterproductive” to support the resolution as Russia and the United State have agreed to convene an international conference on Syria and when international consolidation is needed, Russia’s deputy UN ambassador, Alexander Pankin, said ahead of the vote.
UN General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding, unlike Security Council resolutions. Syria’s allies, Russia and China, have vetoed three Western-backed Security Council resolutions designed to pressure Assad to end the use of force.