POLITICS

Canadian MPs unanimously condemn Syria on first anniversary of uprising

03/15/2012 04:08 EDT | Updated 05/15/2012 05:12 EDT
OTTAWA - Canada marked the first anniversary of the blood-soaked Syrian uprising with Parliament unanimously condemning the regime of President Bashar Assad.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said he was pleased by the non-partisan show of support by his fellow MPs, but did not mask his disappointment with the United Nations' inability to stop the bloodshed.

"(That) this House express its deep disappointment at the continued failure by the UN Security Council to effectively deal with the crisis in Syria; and that this House stand in support with the Syrian people as they strive to build a better, brighter future," the motion read in part.

The Security Council was stymied in its previous attempt to condemn Syria because of opposition from veto-wielding members, China and Russia.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday raised the estimated death toll from the government's bloody crackdown on protesters to 8,000 people from 7,500.

In Ottawa, Baird reiterated Canada's position that "Assad must go," but he did not say how.

"Recent reports have emerged that the Syrian military has laid a band of anti-personnel mines along stretches of Syria's borders," the minister said in a statement.

"It is clear that the principal victims of the mines will be the innocent Syrian people trying desperately to flee the violence. We expect Syria to halt these actions immediately."

Last week, Baird announced the closure of the Canadian embassy in Syria, saying the government could no longer guarantee the safety of its diplomats.