United Nations: The UN Security Council on Wednesday condemned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's deadly crackdown on protests and called for those responsible for violence to be held "accountable."

A council presidential statement agreed after weeks of often acrimonious negotiations said the 15-nation body "condemns the widespread violations of human rights and the use of force against civilians by the Syrian authorities."

Lebanon disavowed the statement, however, saying that it would "not help" end the Syrian crisis.

European powers, backed by the United States, had led a campaign for a Security Council pronouncement on the repression of the protests that erupted in mid-March. China and Russia had threatened to veto any formal resolution and the statement was the first council action, despite the worsening violence.

The statement dropped references to a human rights inquiry that Britain, France, Germany and Portugal had called for in their earlier versions of the text.

"The Security Council calls on the Syrian authorities to fully respect human rights and to comply with their obligations under applicable international law. Those responsible for the violence should be held accountable," the text read.

The council also called on Syrian authorities to "cooperate fully" with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.