United Nations: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has demanded UN action to stop spiraling violence in Syria as she prepared to join other top diplomats in pressing a reluctant Russia.
   
As a Syrian government offensive was blamed for the deaths of dozens more civilians, Clinton said yesterday she would join the foreign ministers of France and Britain and the Arab League chief at the United Nations today.
   
"The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms the escalation of the Syrian regime's violent and brutal attacks on its own people," Clinton said in a statement.
   
"The Security Council must act and make clear to the Syrian regime that the world community views its actions as a threat to peace and security. The violence must end, so that a new period of democratic transition can begin," she said.
   
Clinton said that the Security Council session aimed to send a clear message from the international community to the Syrian people: "We stand with you."
   
But Russia, the main diplomatic supporter and arms supplier to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, held firm that it would use its veto power against an Arab League-supported resolution that calls for a ceasefire.
   
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said that the latest draft resolution, which was introduced by Morocco on Friday, was little different to a Western-backed one which Russia and China vetoed in October.
   
"The draft has statements in it calling on the member states to stop arms deliveries to Syria," he told a news agency in an interview.
   
"But there is no clear line between arms contraband that some countries engage in to support extremist forces in Syria, and the legal military-technical ties with this country," he said.
   
Russia has instead called for Assad's regime and the opposition to hold "informal contacts" in Moscow without any preconditions.
   
Asked about Russia's call for talks, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the United States supported a political solution but was "intensely discussing" with Russia the "real deterioration on the ground" in Syria.

(Agencies)